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Viktor Lowenfeld & W. Lambert Brittam 






By the late Viktor Lowenjeld 
and W. Lambert Brittain 

In this new, extensively revised edi- 
tion of a book that has been acclaimed 
a "must" for art educators, there is 
material that will interest everyone, 
professionals and laymen alike. 

From its profusely illustrated pages 
springs a wealth of information on 
the growth and development of the 
creative process in the child, from his 
first uncontrolled scribbles to his high 
school paintings. The child's creative 
expression during specific stages in his 
mental and emotional growth can only 
be understood and appreciated if the 
general causal interdependence be- 
tween creation and growth is under- 

(Continued on bac\ flap) 

V'. /•'. o 1 n 1 11 

M M 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) 

Creative and Mental Growth 



and Mental 



Viktor Lowenfeld 
W. Lambert Brittain 

The Macmillan Company, New York 
Collier'Macmillan Limited, London 

© Copyright, THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1964 


Second Printing, 1964 

Library of Congress catalog card number: 64-12531 

The Macmillan Company, New York 
Collier-Macmillan Canada, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario 

Printed in the United States of America 






"In this book an attempt has been made to show how the child's general 
growth is tied up with his creative development. . . . Creative expression 
is as differentiated as are individuals. This is as clearly evident in the 
minds of artists as it is in the minds of educators and psychologists. How- 
ever, the child's creative expression during specific stages in his mental 
and emotional growth can only be understood and appreciated if the 
general causal interdependence between creation and growth is under- 

This paragraph from the first edition of Creative and Mental Growth 
is as pertinent for this fourth edition as it was in 1947. The current edition 
is written in the hope that it may provide the basis for deeper understand- 
ing of the art expression of children. Such understanding is important not 
only for teachers or those who are planning to teach, but also for all those 



who wish better to comprehend the influences underlying every creative 
act, whether the product is a painting, drawing, construction, or some- 
thing nonartistic. 

The fourth edition was already planned when Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld 
died in the May of 1960. His dynamic contribution to the field of art 
education cannot be measured in terms of his numerous articles, his re- 
search, or his many books, or even the exciting and stimulating lectures 
he delivered all over the country; rather it can be measured more readily 
in the people who have been more personally affected by close association 
with a spirit that continues to live in each of them. Many were inspired 
by his contagious enthusiasm. He overwhelmed his listeners, both as in- 
dividuals and as large audiences, with an intensity that was awe-inspiring. 

It is with a great deal of humility that I have undertaken to fulfill his 
hopes for the latest edition of this classic book. I wish to express my deepest 
appreciation to Mrs. Viktor Lowenfeld for her continued encouragement 
and understanding and to Dr. John Lowenfeld for his support. I also wish 
to acknowledge the kind assistance of the many colleagues and friends 
who have helped give direction to the new edition. I have appreciated 
the notes, tape recordings of recent lectures, and suggestions from those 
who were close to Dr. Lowenfeld in recent years which helped me to 
get a truer feeling for changes that he would have made. 

I also wish gratefully to acknowledge the following for their help in 
securing the illustrations for this volume: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York, Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Plate 13; Bettmann Ar- 
chive, Figures 101 and 103; John T. Biggers, artist. Figure 90; Barrett 
Gallagher, photographer. Figures 2, 6, 26, and 88; Jack Grant, photogra- 
pher. Figures 15, 17, 57, 61, 71, 84, 85, 87, and 89; Jean Holland, Duke of 
York School, Plates 2 and 7; Lynn Haussler, photographer. Figures 21, 
22, and 23; Indiana State College, Penn., Plate 3; Museum of Modern 
Art, Figures 104 and 105; Gordon Myer, Art Department, High School, 
Ithaca, N.Y., Figures 84, 85, 87, and 89; New York State College of Agri- 
culture, Cornell University, Figures 55, 72, 96, and 97; New York State 
College of Home Economics, Cornell University, Figures 3, 27, 93, and 
95; Photo Science Studios, Cornell University, Figures 9, 10, 11, 16, and 
60; Kathryn Royer, instructor. Figure 94; Irene Russell, Research Bul- 
letin, The Eastern Arts Assoc, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1952, Figure 5; Jean Warren, 
photographer. Figure 37. 

The preface to the third edition closed with the hope, which I share for 
this revision, that it would be used "flexibly and with the thought that 

Preface vii 

nothing can replace the intuitive quality o£ a good teacher who places 
sensitivity to problems above knowledge and aesthetic experience above 
rules and who is continuously conscious of the importance of the individ- 
ual child." 

W. Lambert Brittain 

Department ef Child Development 

and Family Relationships 

Cornell University 

Table of Contents 


The Meaning of Art for Education 1 

The Importance of Art for Creativity 6 

Methods of Approach 11 

The Important Principle of Extending the Frame of Reference 12 


The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary 
Education 20 

The Effect of Stereotyped Workbooks and Coloring Books 

ON Children 22 



Self-adj ustment 

The Significance of Self-identification Through Art 

self-identification in teaching 

self-identification of the child with his art experience 

self-identification with the art medium 

self-identification with technique and procedure 

self-identification and appreciation 

self-identification for social adjustment 
The Meaning of Integration in Art Education 

THE integrated EXPERIENCE 





The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 52 

The Importance of Creative Products 52 


the meaningfulness of creative products 57 

Art as a Means of Understanding Growth 58 

emotional growth 60 


physical growth in creative activity 65 

perceptual growth in creative activity 66 

social growth in creative activity 67 

aesthetic growth 68 

creative growth 69 

The Importance of Materials and Skills 70 

Grading the Child's Creative Product 72 

Exhibits and Competitions 73 

natural competition 73 

forced competition 74 

classroom and school exhibits 77 

Must a Teacher Produce Creatively? 78 

psychological insight in art instruction 79 

identification of the teacher WITH THE CHILD 81 

the flexibility of the teacher 81 

The Teacher's Need for Knowing Developmental Stages 82 

Classroom Procedures 85 

some comments about art materials 89 

Related Activities 90 

Table of Contents xi 


Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage, 

Two to Four Years 93 

The Importance of Scribbling 93 

General Development of Scribbling 95 

disordered scribbling 95 

controlled SCRIBBLING 95 

naming of scribbling 99 

The Meaning of Color 101 

Art Motivation 101 

Art Materials 104 

A Discussion of the Meaning of the Scribbling Stage 108 
Summary of Growth Characteristics Pertaining to the Scribbling 

Stage 112 

Related Activities 113 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic 

Stage, Four to Seven Years 115 

Understanding the Preschematic Stage 115 

General Development of Representative Symbols 117 

Meaning of Space 118 

The Significance of Color 120 

Art Motivation 121 

Subject Matter 125 

Art Materials 127. 

A Discussion of the Meaning of the Preschematic Stage 130 
Summary of Growth Characteristics of the Preschematic Stage 134 

Related Activities 136 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic 

Stage, Seven to Nine Years 138 

The Schema in Drawings by Children 138 

human schema 140 

space schema 141 

Deviations from the Schema — Expression of Subjective 

Experiences 143 

xu creative and mental growth 

The Psychological Importance of the Schema 146 

The Origin of the Base Line 148 

the base line as part of the landscape 149 

Other Means of Space Representation 151 

SPACE and time representations * 157 

X-RAY pictures 159 

The Meaning of Color 161 

The Meaning of Design 162 

The Importance of Clay 163 

Art Motivation 166 

Subject Matter in Art 169 

Art Materials 171 

A Discussion of the Meaning of the Schematic Stage 174 

Related Activities 181 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age, 

Nine to Eleven Years ^^^ 

The Greater Awareness of the Self 183 

The Concept of Realism 184 

The Representation of the Human Figure 185 

The Representation of Space 186 

The Changing Mode of Expression 188 

The Use of Color 189 

The Meaning of Design and Crafts 191 

Art Motivation 195 

Subject Matter in Art 200 

Art Materials 204 

A Discussion of the Art of the Gang Age 206 

Summary of the Art of the Gang Age 212 

Related Activities 212 


The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of 

Reasoning, Eleven to Thirteen Years 214 

The Representation of the Human Figure 217 

The Development of Two Different Space Concepts 221 


the space concept of the nonvisually minded 223 

The Importance of Color 225 


Table of Contents xiii 

The Importance of Design 226 

Modeling — Two Different Approaches 227 

Art Motivation 229 

motivation of the human figure 231 

motivation of space 233 

motivation of color 234 

motivation for self-expression 236 

Subject Matter 239 

Art Materials 243 

A Discussion of the Meaning of the Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage 245 

Related Activities 251 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 

Seen in Creative Activity 252 

The Psychological Change in the Imaginative Concept 253 

The Development of Two Creative Types 258 

visual type 260 

haptic type 261 

The Different Creative Concepts of the Two Types 262 

HUMAN figure 263 

space 267 
The Two Creative Types Are Psychological — Their Significance 

for Personality Development 268 

The Change of the Imaginative Concept 270 

Related Activities 280 

Adolescent Art 282 

The Adolescent 284 

The Need for Adolescent Art 286 

A Consideration of Subject Matter 291 

Some Suggestions for Subject Matter in a Secondary School Art 

Program 295 

experiences of the self 295 

experiences in the home 304 

experiences in the community 312 

experiences in nature 319 

experiences in industry 323 

The Meaning of Skills and Techniques in the Secondary S,chool 330 








Related Activities 350 


The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 352 

The Elements of Expression in Picture Making 353 

the meaning of the line and its relation 355 

the meaning of space and its relation • 358 

the meaning of light and shadow 363 

color, an element in composition 372 

unity, or composition 376 

Aesthetics for the Consumer 377 

Related Activities 378 


The Gifted Child 381 

The Individual Case 385 

fluency of imagination and expression 385 

the highly developed sensibility 387 

the intuitive quality of imagination 389 

directness of expression 390 


Educational Implications 391 

Related Activities 393 


Summary of All Stages 395 

Selected References 403 

Index 407 

Color Plates 

Plate 1, "Mommy and Daddy" Facing page 110 

Plate 2, "I Am in a Lightning Storm" Facing page 111 

Plate 3, "I Am Standing in My Back Yard" Facing page 142 

Plate 4, "Lightning and Rain" Facing page 143 

Plate 5, "We Are Playing on the Playground" Facing page 174 

Plate 6, "We Are Exploring the Surface of Venus" Facing page 175 

Plate 7, "Standing in the Rain" Facing page 206 

Plate 8, "Barns" Facing page 207 

Plate 9, "My Barber" Facing page 270 

Plate 10, Texture, Space, and Color Facing page 271 

Plates 11 and 12, Papier Mache Facing page 302 

Plate 13, "Numbers in Color" Facing page 303 


Creative and Mental Growth 



The Meaning of Art 
for Education 

Art has a potentially vital role in the education of our children. The 
process of drawing, painting, or constructing is a complex one in which 
the child brings together diverse elements of his environment to make a 
new meaningful whole. In the process of selecting, interpreting, and re- 
forming these elements, he has given us more than a picture or a sculp- 
ture, he has given us a part of himself: how he thinks, how he feels, and 
how he sees. For the child this is a dynamic and unifying activity. 

Formal education takes on a tremendously important role when we 
realize that our children — from the age of five or six to sixteen, eighteen, 
or beyond — are forced by law and job requirements to spend ten, twelve, 
sixteen, or even twenty years behind school doors. That is a pretty stiff 
sentence just for being born a child. Yet the serving of this sentence is 
supposed to qualify a youngster to take his place as a contributing and 



well-adjusted member of society. From some points of view education 
has done its task; looking around us today, we can see great material 
gains. But serious questions can be raised about how much we have been 
able to educate beyond the making and consuming of objects. Have we 
in our educational system really put emphasis upon the human ? Or have 
we been so blinded by the material awards that we have failed to recog- 
nize where the real values of a democracy lie, in its most precious good, 
the individual.'^ 

In our present educational system most emphasis has been put upon the 
learning of factual information. To a great extent the passing or failing 
of an examination or of a course, or the passing on to the next grade, or 
even the remaining in school depends upon the mastery or memoriza- 
tion of certain bits of information that are already known to the instruc- 
tor. The function of the school system would then seem to be that of 
producing people who can file away bits of information, and then repeat 
these at a given signal. Once the student has achieved a certain compe- 
tency at producing the proper bits of information at the correct time, he 
is considered right for graduating from school. What is most disturbing 
is that the skill in repeating bits of information may have very little rela- 
tionship to the "contributing, well-adjusted member of society" we 
thought we were producing. 

We do not want to give the impression that by merely developing a 
good creative art program in the public schools, mankind is saved; but 
the values that are meaningful in an art program are those which may be 
basic to the development of a new image, a new philosophy, even a totally 
new structure to our educational system. More and more people are recog- 
nizing that the ability to learn differs from age to age and from individual 
to individual, and that this ability to learn involves not only intellectual 
capacity, but also social, emotional, perceptual, physical, and psychological 
factors. Altogether learning is very complex. Therefore, there may be no 
single best teaching method. Our tendency to develop the capacity to 
regurgitate bits of information may be putting undue emphasis on but one 
factor in human development, that which is now measured by the intel- 
ligence tests. Intelligence as we now know it does not encompass the 
wide range of thinking abilities that are necessary to the survival of man- 
kind. The ability to question, to seek answers, to find form and order, to 
rethink and restructure and find new relationships, are qualities that are 
generally not taught; and in fact these seem to be frowned upon in our 
present educational system. 

^^ 'V, 







Figiire 1. 


It may be that one of the basic abilities that should be taught in our 
public schools is the ability to discover, to search for answfers, instead of 
passively waiting for answers and directions from the teacher. The exper- 
iences central to an art activity embody this very factor. This is true 
whether it is in putting together a construction called "Spring" from 
straws, colored paper, and bottle caps, or in painting a picture that neces- 
sitates the mixing of colors and the invention of new forms. 

If we look at very young children, we often find a freedom to act with- 
out regard for the amount of knowledge mankind has amassed regarding 
this action. Children learn to walk without an intellectual understanding 
of the motor control involved. What a person knows, or does not know, 
may bear no relationship to creative action. One sometimes hears that 
there are definite steps to the creative process and that preparation is a 
first important step However, it can be seen that children create with 
whatever knowledge they happen to have at the time. The very act of 
creating can provide new insights and new knowledge for further action. 
Probably the best preparation for creating is creating itself. Waiting until 
a good factual preparation can be obtained before taking action, or stop- 
ping children from creating until they know enough about the subject to 
act intelligently, may inhibit action rather than promote action. The op- 
portunity for the child to create constantly with his present J^nowledge 
is the best preparation for future creative action. 

One of the basic ingredients of a creative art experience is the relation- 
ship between the artist and his environment. That is, the painting, draw- 
ing, or constructing is a constant process of assimilating and projecting: 
taking in through the senses a vast amount of information, mixing it up 
with the psychological self, and putting into new form the elements that 
seem to suit the aesthetic needs of the artist at the time. Now, if we look 
at formal education, we realize that the basis for the development of 
learning rests within 26 letters and 10 numerals. These 36 abstract figures 
are manipulated and reshuflfled from kindergarten through college. The 
development of mental growth then tends to be an abstract function as 
these figures take on different and more complicated meaning. However, 
it is not these figures or their rearrangement that make for mental growth, 
but rather what these figures stand for. Being able to assemble letters in 
proper sequence to spell rabbit does not constitute an understanding of 
a rabbit. To really know a rabbit a child must actually touch him, feel 
his fur, watch his nose twitch, feed him and learn his habits (see Figure 
2). It is the interaction between the symbols, the self, and the environment 

Figure 2. Interaction of the child with his environment — 
in this case, a rabbit with his twitchy nose and soft fur 
— provides material for abstract intellectual processes. 

that provides the material for abstract intellectual processes. Therefore, 
mental growth depends upon the relationship between a child and his 
environment; such relationship is a basic ingredient of a creative art 

Man learns through his senses. The ability to see, feel, hear, smell, and 
taste provides the means by which an interaction between man and his 
environment takes place. The process of educating children can sometimes 
be confused with developing certain limited predetermined responses. 
The curriculum in public schools tends to be little concerned with the 
simple fact that man, and the child too, learns through these five senses. 
The development of perceptual sensitivity, then, should become a most 
important part of the educative process. But, except for the arts, the 
senses are apt to be ignored. The greater the opportunity to develop an 
increased sensitivity and the greater the awareness of all the senses, the 
greater will be the opportunity for learning. 

We know too well that factual learning and retention, if it cannot be 


used by a free and flexible mind, will benefit neither the individual nor 
society. Education has often neglected these attributes of growth that are 
responsible for the development of the individual's sensibilities, for his 
spiritual life, as well as for his ability to live cooperatively in a society. The 
growing number of emotional and mental illnesses in this nation, the 
largest in any nation, as well as our inability to accept human beings first 
of all as human beings regardless of nationality, religion, race, creed, or 
color, is a frightening sign and vividly points out that education so far has 
failed in one of its most significant aims. While our high achievements in 
specialized fields, particularly in the sciences, have improved our material 
standards of living, they have diverted us from those values that are re- 
sponsible for our emotional and spiritual needs. They have introduced a 
false set of values, which neglect the innermost needs of an individual. In 
a well-balanced educational system, in which the development of the total 
being is stressed, each individual's thinking, feeling, and perceiving must 
be equally developed in order that his potential creative abilities can un- 
fold. Art educaton, introduced in the early years of childhood, may well 
mean the difference between a flexible creative human being and one who, 
in spite of all learning, will not be able to apply it, will lack inner re- 
sources, and will have difficulty in his relationship to the environment. 
Because perceiving, thinking, and feeling are equally stressed in any 
creative process, art may well provide the necessary balance for the child's 
intellect and his emotions. 

The Importance of Art for Creativity 

Art has long been looked upon as the stronghold of creativity within 
the public schools. In recent years, however, the more academic courses 
have begun to develop an interest in fostering creative thinking. The im- 
portance of encouraging and developing creativity cannot be overempha- 
sized. Without question, one of the prime objectives of any art program 
is the development of individuals who are creative thinkers. 

Research into creativity extends back only a few years. There are still 
people who look upon drawing and painting as being somehow removed 
from reality, and children seem to them to be touched with some magical 
power. This feeling that creativity is somehow tied up with the gods may 
be one reason why mere humans have found difficulty in attempting to 
fathom the mystery around this important area of human development. 

The Meaning of Art for Education 7 

We do not have to ponder very long upon the condition of the world today 
to realize that children who are presently in elementary school will be 
called upon to revise, change, and remake our world into an entirely new 
pattern of existence. Problems in human relations, growing populations, 
international understandings, and the problems resulting from rapid tech- 
nological change make it imperative that the development of creativity 
becomes one of the most important considerations of our educational sys- 
tem. To teach toward creativity is to teach toward the future of society. 

No child should be thought of as "uncreative." In some cases the poten- 
tial may be buried beneath the surface, and it is up to the teacher to help 
the child break through the restrictions of conformity and insecurity. On 
the other hand, there is no "creative" child. This would assume that the 
creative power is already unleashed to its fullest extent in some children 
and we therefore can do little to further its development. This whole 
question is somewhat analogous to developing healthy bodies. In any 
class we will find children who are undernourished or less healthy than 
normal. We would hope that proper medical care, diet, exercise, and a 
change of environment might stimulate healthy growth. But we continue 
the nourishment and exercise for further development of the healthy 
body. At any age, we find many levels of physical proficiency. There are 
also many levels of creative performance, from the mere drawing of a line 
following the directions of the teacher, to the complex integrated compo- 
sition that is done spontaneously. At all levels of creative performance 
children need to have the encouragement to progress beyond their present 
capacities and to come closer to a genuinely creative spirit. 

Some research has been done that can help us understand some of the 
factors involved in the creative process. Eight basic aspects of creativity 
have emerged from studies in the arts^ and in the sciences." An under- 
standing of how these relate to the teaching process may clarify some of 
the important elements involved. It should be remembered that these are 
not isolated components but are areas to consider as relevant to the en- 
couragement of creative thinking. 

One factor that has been identified in the creative process is sensitivity 
— a sensitivity to problems, to attitudes and feelings of other people, and 
to the experiences of living. This is the ability to use eyes not only for see- 
ing but for observing, ears not only for hearing but for listening, and 
hands not only for touching but for feeling. This is a high degree of 
awareness of a material, a situation, or anything unusual or promising. 
Certainly this is a central experience in working with art materials, where 


being sensitive to a line or form can be encouraged and developed at all 
levels. A kindergarten child can be very aware of the feel of a piece of fur, 
the fifth grader can develop sensitivity toward colors as they mix on his 
page, and the high school boy may find the polished grain of wood an 
exciting material. 

Another factor that has been identified is fluency. This is the abilitv to 
produce a large number of ideas in a short period of time, to be able to 
think rapidlv and freely. Fluencv can be thought of as being both verbal 
and nonverbal, but certainly the creative person has the ability to come 
up with numerous solutions or ideas on a problem. This ability can be 
seen in the numerous scribbles of a preschooler or in the dozen sugges- 
tions a high school boy may have about designing a mosaic table top. 

Another important area is flexibility, the ability to adjust quickly to new 
situations or to change rapidlv in one's thinking. This is the very opposite 
of being rigid, or stuck in the rut. The paint may spill or the chisel may 
slip, but the creator must adapt and take continuous advantage of the 
unexpected and shift his ideas and responses. The accident should provide 
a challenge and a new direction for thinking. The process of painting 
itself requires a constantly changing viewpoint as the painting progresses. 
Using a box of scrap materials to make a picture of "Daddy" today, and 
using the same materials tomorrow to make a collage of "My Feelings 
Toward School," certainlv develops flexible thinking. 

Probably the best-known attribute of a creative person is originality. 
This is the abilitv to think of new or novel responses and is the opposite 
of the usual or accepted. Verv little opportunity is given within our school 
system for developing this trait. Too often the "correct" answer is the one 
that is commonly agreed upon. However, in the field of art, originality is 
stressed; responding in usual or common ways is not necessarily the best 
answer. Art at all levels should stress the unique response of the individual 
child, and the copying of examples of work from the teacher, books, or 
from other children is usually avoided like the plague. 

Another factor that has been identified in the creative process is the 
capacity to redefine or reorganize. To be able to rearrange ideas and shift 
the uses and functions of objects, or to see them in a new light, is appar- 
endy a quality that utilizes what is known, but for new or different pur- 
poses. This is certainly basic in an art experience. When we transform 
paper bags into puppets, we redefine the material in a new way and thus 
give it new meaning. Cutting up a piece of lumber and putting the pieces 
together for a wood project utilizes this ability to reorganize. Rearranging 

The Meaning of Art for Education 9 

and changing elements on a wall for a mural, or on a canvas for a paint- 
ing, is a constant process of reorganization. Experimentation with new 
materials brings new discoveries (see Figure 3). 

Other factors in creativity have been identified as being a part of this 
important process. Although these have been identified by different names, 
these include the ability to abstract, the skill of analyzing the various parts 
of a problem or seeing specific relationships; the ability to synthesize, or 
the ability to combine several elements into a new form or whole; and 
the ability to organize, that is, the ability to put parts together in a mean- 
ingful way. It hardly needs to be pointed out that these are some of the 
basic qualities of any art experience. In an art class, motivating toward a 
greater awareness of details and toward a discovery of differences devel- 
ops the capacity for analysis. As single brush strokes unite to form new 
shapes and solid areas, synthesis occurs; and each student, through his 
own aesthetic awareness, develops a meaningful artistic organization. 

There is no implication that by merely adding together the factors 

Figure 3. Experimentation with new materials brings new discoveries. 





that have been considered important in studies of creativity, we can 
discover creative thinkers. Rather, we should look upon these as factors 
to consider in planning an art program.'"' Most of these abilities come under 
the heading of divergent thinJ^ing. This is the opposite of convergent 
thinking. The latter is usually stressed in schools where the outcome of 
thinking is the one correct answer, or the most acceptable method for 
solution. Both kinds of thinking should be developed, and certainly the 
creative arts become extremely important in our educational system if only 
because the arts stress divergent thinking, in which there are no right 
answers, and any number of possible solutions to problems or any number 
of outcomes in painting or drawing are correct. 

Some questions that are factual and demand specific answers might be 
"What are the primary colors? What are the secondary colors? Give an 
example of a split-complementary color scheme." Open-ended questions 
that stimulate divergent thinking might be "Which colors make you feel 
sad? How would you feel if you were purple? Which color would you 
like to be?" The importance of teaching toward divergent thinking is 
stressed by Robert Burkhart: "The value of the divergent question is that 
it requires the student to look at a content area from a variety of view- 
points and to participate in an imaginative way in answering the ques- 

Some of the research on creativity in art has pointed out that teaching 
toward "capacity for creative action" is complex and may depend upon 
personal meaningfulness, upon encouraging self-reflective thinking, upon 
encouraging self-evaluation, and upon developing greater student-teacher 

It might be well to mention here that the philosophy in art education 
is distinctly different from that of the so-called fine arts. Whereas the 
emphasis in art education is on the effect that the creative processes have 
on individuals, it is the aesthetic value of the end product that is of im- 
portance in the fine arts. However, we cannot separate an individual from 
what he paints. With the improved creativeness of the individual, his 
greater sensitivity toward experiences, and his increased ability to inte- 
grate them, the quality of his aesthetic product will also grow. Focusing 
attention upon the painting, drawing, or construction puts emphasis upon 
the end product only and limits growth to present understanding of the 
field of art, and in particular to the taste of the individual teacher. Focus- 
ing upon the child, however, makes the creative process extremely im- 

The Meaning of Art for Education 11 

portant, not only to the potential artist but to every child, regardless of 
how or in what profession this creativity will be utilized. 

Methods of Approach 

It should be stressed that there is no single approach to freeing children 
or adults in their creative potentialities or to making them more sensitive 
toward themselves and their environment. However, it can be said that 
whatever a teacher does in stimulating creativeness greatly depends on 
three factors: (1) his own personality, of which his own creativeness, de- 
gree of sensitivity, and flexible relationships to environment are an 
important part, (2) his ability to put himself into the place of others, and 
(3) his understanding and knowledge of the needs of those whom he is 
teaching. It is quite impossible to say that any one approach — by whatever 
fine-sounding name it is called — is good for all. At one time it may be 
better to have the children divided in groups working on group projects, 
at another time working simultaneously with different materials in one 
classroom or working individually on the same motivation. This all de- 
pends on individual needs. Every sensitive teacher feels when his group 
is keyed up to one experience they have just gone through. At that time it 
would not only be quite out of place but superficial to divide the group 
into smaller groups and motivate them to work with different materials. 
Let it be clear that our task is to help individuals in their identification 
with their own selves and to stimulate creativeness with whatever methods 
are most effective. For the same reason it is quite ineffective, or even 
frustrating, to use group approaches if the individual either feels the group 
is interfering with his own individual mode of expression or if he cannot 
conceive of group work, if he is not ready for it. It must always be kept 
in mind that the child's needs change and that the teacher must adjust 
to these changing needs. 

A question is sometimes raised as to whether children are not restricted 
in their creativeness when the teacher is using classroom motivations, 
that is, when the whole group is motivated by one experience. We have to 
differentiate clearly between subject matter and mode of expression. As 
long as the child has the freedom to use his otvn mode of expression, his 
creativeness remains free. In fact, it has been proven experimentally 
that a motivation is not always most effective when given individually. 


Every teacher knows how easily a classroom motivation can become 
contagious, getting hold of all children, much as a football game with a 
large attendance. The best game with poor attendance may have little 
excitement. Indeed, it has been established that the same motivations may 
have diflFerent effects under different circumstances and treatment.*' The 
teaching situation, as well as the need of the children, should always be 
the decisive factor in choosing the method of approach, for it is the effect 
of the creative process on the child and not the final product that is of 
decisive significance. 

The Important Principle of Extending 
the Frame of Reference 

In order to understand the effect of the creative process on the child, 
and how the various components of growth are part and parcel of it, let 
us actually try to find out what goes on in a child's mind while he is busy 
creating a picture. It is needless to say that neither the quality nor the 
intensity of the creative process depends on the material used. 

First of all, when he begins he must think of "something." Often this 
"something" seems to us insignificant. For the child, however, it always 
means a confrontation with his own self, with his own experience. Some 
children cannot think of "something" because they either lack sensitive 
relationships to meaningful experiences or their minds are blocked and 
go around in circles. If they lack sensitive experiences, they need to be 
motivated. If their minds are blocked and move around in stereotypes, 
their frame of reference needs to be extended. 

The extension of the frame of reference constitutes one of the most im- 
portant principles in art education, or indeed, in education in general. To 
extend the frame of reference, we always have to start on the level of the 
individual — to extend the child's thinking, feeling and perceiving on his 
level and at the stage of his development. If, for instance, Mary scribbles 
small in a corner of her paper, it would be useless to tell her to scribble 
larger, or to cover the whole paper. Such suggestions would not enhance 
in her the freedom necessary for larger motions, nor would they permit 
her to discover the meaningfulness of the paper at her disposal. For that, 
her frame of reference for motions needs to be enlarged; that is, the 
scribbling motion has to be extended to a more meaningful motion, the 
area on the paper to other more meaningful areas. In this case one could 

The Meaning of Art for Education 13 

ask Mary, "Have you been in a skating rink?" "Suppose you have the 
whole space for yourself, would you only skate in the corner?" "Show 
me how you would skate." "Suppose the sheet of paper is your skating 
rink. Let's skate with our crayon on it." One motion has been referred 
to another more meaningful motion and has thus achieved greater sig- 
nificance. One area has been related to another area in relationship to an 
experience more meaningful to the child than scribbling has been. This 
extension of the frame of reference has sensitized the child to his own 
motions as well as to the meaningfulness of the drawing area. Obviously 
only meaningful experiences will be effective. 

"My child only draws airplanes." "My child only draws guns." These 
are remarks we continually hear, both from parents and from teachers. 
"Don't draw these silly guns!" would obviously not contribute to the 
child's greater flexibility and understanding of his environment. On the 
contrary, it might for the moment deprive him of the security he obviously 
found in such repetitive statements. By repeating the same thing over and 
over, the child merely expresses his inability to adjust to new situations. 
For him his stereotyped repetition constitutes an escape, which he always 
uses whenever he cannot face a new situation. This is also true for children 
who go into a tantrum, another escape mechanism, which the child intro- 
duces whenever he is unable to adjust to a new situation. Mary may be 
peacefully playing with her doll when you suddenly interrupt her and tell 
her that her time is over and that she has to go to bed. Because Mary can- 
not adjust quickly to the new situation, she may escape into a tantrum. 
There is nothing easier than to condition her gradually to what will come 
and thus prevent such a quick and drastic adjustment. "Mary, will your 
doll soon go to sleep? You know that soon you will have to go to bed, 
too." This can be repeated, depending on the adjustability of the child, 
until the final step will no longer represent a decisive change. In art edu- 
cation such conditioning to a new situation often constitutes an important 
part of the motivation, especially for the extension of the child's frame of 
reference. If Johnny draws airplanes only, the important fact is to make 
the airplane meaningful, to make it alive, by extending the child's frame 
of reference. Again we have to start on the level of the child. If the child 
draws all airplanes alike, it will be a discovery for him to distinguish be- 
tween big and small planes. "Where does your plane fly?" "Where does 
it land?" "Where do people get out?" To make the plane and its environ- 
ment meaningful to the child, the teacher has to identify with the child's 
needs, in particular in his relations and feelings for airplanes. In this way 

Figure 4. The child draws from his knowl- 
edge, his observation, and his experience. 

The Meaning of Art for Education 15 

the teacher has extended the frame of reference from the child's stereo- 
typed meaningless airplane symbol to an expression of meaningful variety 
of airplanes, from a meaningless background area to a meaningful space 
that has become part of the child's experience. It is needless to say that 
diverting the child from his problem by making him do different things 
in different materials will not help him. It has been proved that diversion 
may only add to his frustration. If he is limited to airplanes, their mean- 
ingfulness can be improved by an extension to another material, that is, 
from drawing to three-dimensional form. The new and fresh approach 
in new materials may often break down old established stereotypes. 

Fortunately most of our children are free and not bound up with stereo- 
types. Johnny, for instance, can think of something, because he has ex- 
perienced something. As he thinks of it, his thoughts concentrate on the 
experience to be painted. His thought process, the ability to think for 
himself and concentrate on something, becomes stimulated. This initial 
intellectual process is an important part in creative activities. It is self- 
evident that he will include only those things that he knows and that are 
important to him. Important to him, however, are only those things to 
which he has established some more or less sensitive relationship. Thus, 
his emotional relationship will be an important part in his creative process. 
Let us say that Johnny wants to draw how he plays with other children 
in the yard. For Johnny the apple tree in the yard may have big apples 
because he has been watching them grow. He includes the apples in his 
drawing because they are important to him. They are part of his knowl- 
edge, his observation, and his experience (see Figure 4). Bob uses the 
tree only for climbing; apples have no meaning and are therefore not 
included in his painting. Bob is interested in Mary's dress. He likes Mary. 
His painting indicates more details on Mary than elsewhere. He paints 
Mary much larger than anything else because she is important to him. 
His painting, like those of all children, is not an objective representation. 
On the contrary, it expresses his likes and dislikes, his emotional relation- 
ships to his own world and the world that surrounds him. It also expresses 
not only what he knows but also what he feels, sees, and touches, if he has 
become sensitively aware of these things. 

In order to understand this fully, let us go back to our own experiences. 
We, too, can only recall things to the extent to which either our knowledge 
or our individual emotional relationships permit us. Let us think, for 
instance, of a traffic light. We all know that it consists of three different 
colored lights. Our knowledge has registered that. We will, however, not 


be SO sure of the location of the colors if we have not become sensitized 
to them. Is the green light on top, or the red ? Only the degree of intensity 
with which we have observed the location will be responsible for our 
recalling it. Once we have become sensitized toward this particular loca- 
tion by conscious observation, that is, by seeing in detail, we shall 
incorporate this newly gained relationship into our permanent under- 
standing. More sensitive relationships can, however, be fostered by 
experience we have with things. For instance, if we were color-blind, we 
would have to depend on the location of the lights and would very soon 
have to become aware of the red light on the top. If we had to install the 
lights, we would by necessity have become aware of their location. But 
emotional experience with things will also intensify our relationships to 
environment. If we experience the vastness of the sea with an underlying 
feeling of loneliness, all by ourselves, it is not the same as if we were ac- 
companied by the noise of countless people happily splashing in the on- 
coming waves. Needless to say, the more sensitive relationships we establish 
toward experiences in general, the richer is our life, for what is true about 
the traffic light is also true about flowers, trees, textures, colors, and all 
that surrounds us. 

Johnny, therefore, has given us an intimate understanding, through his 
drawing, of the type of relationships he has established to the things he 
represented. Of course, as he grows, these relationships will change. He 
will know more about things, and his emotional interest will also shift. 
The greater the variety in his paintings, the more flexible he will be in his 
relationships and vice versa. It must, however, be remembered that it is 
one of the most important tas/(^s of the teacher to continually encourage 
and motivate sensitive, rich, and flexible relationships. 

As Johnny continues to draw his back-yard scene, he adds things ac- 
cording to the significance they have to him. Perhaps the swings on the 
apple tree come first to his mind. He loves to swing on them. But there 
is Bob. Johnny does not like Bob because he always teases Johnny. So, 
according to his likes and dislikes in color and placement, he gives expres- 
sion to his dislike for Bob in his drawing. Johnny is weaker than Bob; he 
can never show his dislike directly, but in his drawing he can. He feels 
better afterward, just as we feel better after we have talked about a dis- 
agreeable thing with a good friend. It bothers us to keep things all to 
ourselves, to have them eat into us. 

It is needless to say that everything Johnny does and to which he is 
exposed has some influence upon him. If in his creative work he con- 

The Meaning of Art for Education 17 

tinually attempts to relate all his experiences, such as thinking, feeling, 
perceiving (seeing, touching, and so on), to one another, it must also have 
a unifying effect on his personality. 

As Johnny goes on to draw his back-yard picture, he includes Rowdy, 
his dog, and also Dad, who fixes the fence. Rowdy is digging a hole in 
the lawn. Johnny is quite aware that this may spoil the lawn and Dad does 
not like it. Dad fixes the fence; Johnny could not draw Dad without 
putting himself into Dad's place while fixing the fence. This makes him 
better understand Dad. He even thinks how Dad lifts the heavy hammer 
to drive the post into the ground. Dad must be strong. It is one of the 
important attributes of any creative process that we become more sensi- 
tive to things with which we are dealing. If Johnny thinks of his environ- 
ment more sensitively, he has been taught to do one of the most important 
things that we need in the world"today — to become more sensitive to the 
needs of others. This is one of the most vital prerequisites for a coopera- 
tive attitude. In putting himself into the place of Dad in his picture, 
Johnny has just experienced this vital need. 

Johnny not only becomes more sensitive to the things he draws, he also 
develops a great sensitivity to the materials he uses. He learns by experi- 
ence that the lines of a crayon are different if he puts different pressure 
on it, that he can use the broad side of the crayon — all this he learns by 
trial and error, and soon incorporates into his picture. To discover and 
explore ti^hat different art tnaterials can do, to learn their behavior is one 
of the important trends the child develops through creative activities. 
Johnny even learns to predict their behavior: he knows exactly how much 
he can bend wood, what he can do with wire, what colors to mix in 
order to get the one he wants. He has become sensitive to the reactions 
of materials and he uses great skill in handling them. This development 
of skill that is a result of the urge for expression is also a vital part of the 
creative process. 

When Johmiy began to draw his back-yard picture, he had to decide 
where to put the tree, the swings, the fence, Mary, Dad, Rowdy, and Bob. 
Thus he had to organize all these things meaningfully. What he knew of 
the tree, the swing, Mary, the fence. Dad, and Bob had to be related to 
how he felt about these things, and this had to be related to the location 
of the things on the paper. He also gave some definite color and shape to 
the objects he drew. He had to invent and explore his forms in relationship 
to the material he used. Of course all this organization takes place in the 
child subconsciously. But it all belongs to Johnny's personality and is part 


and parcel of the creative process and the resulting aesthetic product, for 
aesthetic growth consists of the growth from a chaotic to a harmonious 
organization of expression in which feeling, perceiving, and thinking are 
completely integrated. 

Virginia, for instance, cannot express herself as flexibly as Johnny. She 
is tense and has developed a certain emotional inflexibility. She cannot 
meet new situations, as Johnny can. Her mind does not adjust as easily to 
her environment, and therefore she has established a certain sameness 
of reactions. She always draws the same kinds of patterns. Her mind is 
fixed on one thing — and this she keeps repeating. This repetition gives her 
a certain security. She knows she can repeat it again and again. She also 
knows that she does not need to meet new situations when she draws. It 
is a false security into which she escapes whenever she cannot do justice 
to a situation. 

Johnny, through his continued art motivation, could adjust flexibly 
to other situations he was facing. During the creative process he not 
only used his intellect in finding out about the tree, the swing, the 
fence. Rowdy, Dad, and the other things, but he gave expression to his 
emotional relationships to Mary, his dog, and even the tree, because he 
loved to climb it. He observed the apples, Mary's dress, and became more 
sensitive to his environment. He independently created his own forms and 
concepts. By putting himself in the place of others, he learned the needs of 
others; by using his art material sensitively, he actually learned to identify 
with its behavior — both are important parts of social growth. By organiz- 
ing all his experiences into a creative product, he integrated all these ex- 
periences into a total inseparable whole, the aesthetic product, Johnny 
is different from Virginia and so is his creative expression. 

For our children art should become their friend to whom they turn 
with their joys and sorrows, their fears and frustrations, whenever words 
become inadequate. Through such experiences a child's art expression 
becomes "an integral part of the whole stream of his living."^ 


1. W. Lambert Brittain, "An Experiment Toward Measuring Creativity," 

Research in Art Education, Seventh Yearbook (Kutztown, Pa.: National 
Art Education Association, 1956), pp. 39-46. 

2. J. P. Guilford et al., "The Relations of CreativeThinking Aptitudes to 

Non-Aptitude Personality Traits," Reports from the Psychological Labora- 
tory (Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 1957). 

The Meaning of Art for Education 19 

3. Viktor Lowenfeld and Kenneth Beittel, "Interdisciplinary Criteria in the 

Arts and Sciences: A Progress Report," Research in Art Education, Ninth 
Yearbook (Kutztown, Pa.: National Art Education Association, 1959), 
pp. 35-44. 

4. Robert C. Burkhart, Spontaneous and Deliberate Ways of Learning (Scran- 

ton, Pa.: International Textbook Co., 1962), p. 217. 

5. Kenneth Beittel, "Construction and Reconstruction of Teaching Methods 

Through Experimental Research," The Art Education Bulletin, XIX, 
No. 4 (Apr. 1962), pp. 48-55. 

6. L. F. McVitty, "An Experimental Study on Various Methods in Art Motiva- 

tions at the Fifth Grade Level" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The 
Pennsylvania State University, 1954). 

7. Manuel Barkan, A Foundation for Art Education (New York: Ronald 

Press Co., 1955). 


The Importance of 

Creative Activity 
m Elementary Education 

If children developed without any interference from the outside world, 
no special stimulation for their creative work would be necessary. Every 
child would use his deeply rooted creative impulse without inhibition, 
confident in his own kind of expression. We find this creative confidence 
clearly demonstrated by those people who live in the remote sections of 
our country and who have not been inhibited by the influences of adver- 
tisements, comic books, and "education." Among these folk are found the 
most beautiful, most natural, and clearest examples of children's art. What 
civilization has buried we must try to regain by recreating the natural 
base necessary for such free creation. Whenever we hear children say, "I 
can't draw that," we can be sure that some kind of interference has oc- 
curred in their lives. No Eskimo child would express such lack of con- 


The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 21 

fidence. These interferences might come from anywhere. To provide 
children with the kinds of stimulation necessary for their creative growth, 
it is important to examine some of the interferences that thwart such 

Art is not the same for the child as it is for the adult. Art for the child is 
merely a means of expression. Since the child's thinking is diflferent from 
that of the adult, his expression must also be diflferent. Out of this dis- 
crepancy between the adult's "taste" and the way in which a child ex- 
presses himself arise most of the difficulties and interferences in art 
teaching. We have heard educators, although intrigued by the beauty of 
children's drawings and paintings, asking for the "right" proportions and 
"good" color schemes. The child sees the world diflferently from the way 
he draws it. It is precisely from our analysis of this discrepancy between 
the representation and the thing represented that we gain insight into the 
child's real experience. Therefore it is easy to understand that any cor- 
rection by the teacher that refers to objects and not to the child's experi- 
ence interferes greatly with the child's own expression. This interference 
starts perhaps when children scribble and eager parents expect to see 
something that fits their own adult conception. How ridiculous to over- 
power these little children's souls! 

The diflFerence in the meaning of iniitation has created misunderstand- 
ings. Psychologists as well as educators agree that imitation is an important 
factor in learning. One of the most important means of communication — 
language — is initially conceived by imitation. The importance of imitation 
as a means of learning, therefore, cannot be overlooked. Yet if we were to 
remain on the level of mere imitation, language would only become the 
repetition of words and man would go down to the level of a parrot, who 
repeats words without understanding their meaning or without any intent 
to express something. Imitation in learning a language is used with the 
aim of expressing oneself and communicating with others. Indeed, imita- 
tion in any learning situation is only used as a means to an end and never 
as an end in itself. In using imitative means, then, it is educationally im- 
portant that teachers become aware of how imitation is used. As self- 
evident as this may appear, much confusion has been created by "methods" 
that promote "learning" in one direction but degrade the child to parrot- 
like imitation in another. The child can not be sliced into subject matter. 
What influences him in arithmetic may be seen in his art expression and 
vice versa. If the child becomes inhibited in one area, it may be felt in 
the other. 

The Effect of Stereotyped Workbooks and 
Coloring Books on Children 

Certain workbooks commonly used in arithmetic and reading confront 
the child with the task of repeating the same concept again and again. 
"Add six birds to the three. How many do you have?" When a "number 
concept" is promoted by using stereotypes, the child may become inhibited 
creatively. One of the authors of such a workbook defended his method 
by saying, "I am only interested in promoting better arithmetic — I don't 
know anything about art." The obvious answer was that we are concerned 
with the child and not with art or arithmetic. The difference lies between 
a subject-matter-centered and a child-centered method of teaching. 

Experimental research has given us ample evidence that imitative meth- 
ods have a detrimental efifect on the child's creativeness. As one of the 
many examples a commonly used arithmetic workbook has a child draw 
76 repetitions of a stereotype of a rabbit, 88 of a bird, 62 of a kite, 80 of a 
balloon, 36 of a cat, and so forth. Such repetition of stereotypes foreign to 
the child's own concept regiments the child into one type of representation 
and deprives him of the expression of his own relationship to the repre- 
sentation. A study by Heilman shows clear evidence of the detrimental 
effects of the use of workbooks. His experiments in public schools 
indicated how very dependent some children can become upon work- 
books, which can influence their natural form of expression: ". . . the 
statistical data reveal that the general growth pattern through creative 
work was seriously influenced by exposure to workbooks. . . ."^ According 
to the experiments of Russell and Waugaman, 63 per cent of all children 
who had been exposed to coloring book birds lost their initially established 
sensitivity to birds and changed their concepts to resemble the stereotype 
(see Figure 5)." This is a devastating result of the influence of workbook 
methods. It is needless to say that such procedures are in complete disagree- 
ment with democratic methods of learning, for they completely neglect 
individual expression. 

In order to understand the effect on children of coloring and workbooks 
that contain such repetitive stereotype forms, let us go through the process 
a child goes through while using them, and let us also find out the after- 
effect this process may have on our children. 

Let us assume that the first picture the child has to fill in is that of a 
dog. As soon as the child is confronted with the task of following a pre- 
determined outline, we have prevented him from solving his own relation- 
ships creatively. His relationship to a dog may be one of love, friendship. 



seven birds 

Color seven birds blue. 

Figure 5. Coloring books affect a child's creative expression. (Courtesy of Dr. Irene 
Russell, Research Bulletin, The Eastern Arts Association, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1952). 

a. This bird shows one child's expression before he was exposed to coloring books. 

b. Then the child had to color a workbook illustration. 

c. After coloring the workbook birds, the child has lost his creative sensitivity and 


dislike, or fear. There is no opportunity for him to express his relationship 
and thus relieve himself of tensions of joy, hatred, or fear. There is no 
place in coloring books to express anxieties. There is not even a place for 
the individual differences of Johnny and Mary. In filling the outline 
drawings, the children are regimented into the same type of activity, with 
no provision for their differences as individuals. Of course, some children, 
unaware of all these implications, and by nature somewhat lazy, enjoy 
coloring the dog; but as they color it with crayon, they realize that they 
could never draw a dog as well as the one they are coloring. They may 
even be very proud when they are through with their activity. After all, 
they have colored the dog. Next time, in school or elsewhere, when one of 
these children is asked to draw something, he remembers the dog in 
the coloring book. Realizing that he cannot compete, he says, quite log- 
ically, "I can't draw." 

I have heard many teachers or parents say, "But my children love color- 
ing books." This is quite true. However, children in general do not dis- 
criminate between things good for them and things detrimental. That 
they love things is not always an indication that those things are good for 
them. Many children prefer sweets to vegetables, and no doubt would al- 
ways prefer them. But this does not mean that we should adjust their 
diets to sweets. Children once conditioned to overprotection love it too. 
In fact, they become so dependent upon it that they can no longer enjoy 
their freedom. There are cases where parents do everything for their chil- 
dren — children who simply stretch out their leg and their shoe is laced, 
then turn around and their hair is combed — almost automatically, as on 
the assembly line. These are the children who sit in the midst of their 
toys and don't know what to do with them, or go to camp and sit lonely 
in a corner while others enjoy their freedom and play, 

A child conditioned to coloring books will have difficulties in enjoying 
the freedom of creating. The dependency that such methods create is 
devastating. It has been revealed by experimentation and research that 
more than half of all children exposed to coloring books lose their cre- 
ativeness and their independence of expression and become rigid and 

Although there is some question whether it is an important discipline, 
some teachers may still tell you that coloring books teach the child to stay 
within the lines. It has been shown by experiment that this is not true at 
all. More children color beyond the given boundaries of objects in coloring 
books than of objects they draw themselves. If Johnny draws his dog, he 

The Importance of Creatine Activity in Elementary Education 25 

has much more incentive to remain within his boundaries than if he 
colors a dog in a coloring book to which he has no relationship. 

Thus it has been proved beyond any doubt that such imitative proce- 
dures as found in coloring and workbooks make the child dependent in 
his thinking (they do not give him the freedom to create what he wants) ; 
they make the child inflexible, because he has to follow what he has been 
given; they do not provide emotional relief, because they give the child 
no opportunity to express his own experience; they do not even promote 
skills and discipline, because the child's urge for perfection grows out of 
his own desire for expression; and finally, they condition the child to 
adult concepts that he cannot produce alone and that therefore frustrate 
his own creative ambitions. 


The term self-expression has been misunderstood so often that it is 
necessary to clarify this term before using it. It would be wrong to think 
that self-expression means the expression of thoughts and ideas in general 
terms of content. This is the greatest mistake made in the use of this word. 
Thoughts and ideas can also be expressed imitatively. If one finds himself 
truly and originally occupied in any kind of medium, the outcome of this 
occupation and the mode of its expression are of decisive importance. 
What matters, then, is the mode of expression, not the content; not the 
what but the how. That is why scribbling, or in another field of expression, 
babbling, can be a means of self-expression as well as a potentially high 
form of creation. It can even happen that scribbling or babbling is a truer 
means of self-expression than a higher form of art if the work of art moves 
from the sincere mode of expression to a form based upon dependency 
on others, on imitation. In this connection it seems important to point out 
that the more primitive the stage of creative activity, the weaker the effect 
of such formal influences or interferences. The explanation of this fact 
seemingly lies in the nature of the more complex expression of art. Rarely 
can there be found a scribbling or babbling that is not a direct expression 
of a mental and emotional state. However, more complex forms of art 
expression can be influenced easily by stronger personalities. This influ- 
ence often grows to such an extent that complex forms of art, even in 
spite of technical perfection, may lack completely the inner spirit or the 
mental and emotional state of the creator. They are, then, facades without 


substance, masks without life, condemned to die. However, this con- 
demnation holds not only for the single art work, but also fgr the creator, 
who cannot live because he cannot breathe with strange lungs. In the 
same way that a babbling child is unable to pronounce words correctly, 
even if urged to do so, a scribbling child if forced to draw naturalistically 
can neither understand nor conceive what he is supposed to draw. Both 
would express themselves by strange means, which would not only inhibit 
them but block their further development. This applies to all stages 
and levels of creative activity. Education toward truth is one of the 
highest and deepest meanings of self-expression. This development toward 
freedom of expression, this great experience of individuals in finding 
themselves, rests upon the knowledge of what truth is in art education. 
This knowledge cannot be achieved without a thorough study of what we 
can expect in modes of expression in the different age groups and on the 
different mental levels. 

Self -adjustment 

Any work that is forced upon a person creates tension and dissatisfac- 
tion. When the individual feels unable to perform a task, he becomes 
conscious of his own insufficiencies and develops lack of confidence, or 
even feelings of inferiority. This can happen if art education is applied 
improperly and if a child is urged to do something not appropriate to his 
development, or even if the child's work is criticized in a way that is not 
adjusted to the level of his ability to understand. 

For instance, if a scribbling child, whose control of body movements is 
not developed to the extent that he can correlate them with his visual 
experiences, is forced to represent a definite object, he not only will be 
unable to perform a task that depends upon ability to achieve such corre- 
lation but he may also lose confidence in his own means of expression 
(scribbling)., The child may even become aware that he does not repre- 
sent anything real. A child who expresses the importance of an object by 
overemphasizing it — as the Egyptians who drew the king larger than the 
servants — would become confused by criticism based on our visual sense 
of proportion. The child not having another means to determine the 
importance of the object would first become aware of the "inadequacy" 
of his expression, would then lose confidence in his own experiences, and 
might finally start to measure proportions rigidly until blocked in his 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 27 

further development. Discouraged by such a stimulation, the child would 
then stop expressing himself altogether — "I can't draw." 

However, if the child expresses himself adequately and freely by repeat- 
ing his motions during scribbling with ever greater certainty, by express- 
ing importance with his own adequate means, by feeling and expressing 
his own space experience (contradicting that of adults), he has great 
satisfaction in his achievement. And we all know how achievements create 
confidence. Since nearly every emotional or mental disturbance is con- 
nected with a lack of self-confidence, it is easily understood that the proper 
stimulation of the child's creative abilities will be a safeguard against such 

We have defined self-expression as the appropriate mode of expression 
according to the mental level of the child. Imitation, however, is expres- 
sion according to adult, or at least foreign, levels. If the child expresses 
himself according to his own level, he becomes encouraged in his own 
independent thinking by expressing his own thoughts and ideas by his 
own means. The child who imitates becomes dependent in his thinking, 
since he relies for his thoughts and expressions upon others. The inde- 
pendent, thinking child will not only express whatever comes into his 
mind but will tackle any problem, emotional or mental, that he encoun- 
ters in life. Thus his expression serves also as an emotional outlet. 

Dependent thinking, however, restricts the child in his choice of subject 
matter as well as in his mode of expression. Since the imitative child can- 
not give expression to his own thoughts and emotions, his dependency 
leads directly to feelings of frustration. The child who uses creative activ- 
ity as an emotional outlet will gain freedom and flexibility as a result of 
the release of unnecessary tensions. However, the child who feels frus- 
trated develops inhibitions and, as a result, will feel restricted in his per- 
sonality. The child who has developed freedom and flexibility in his 
expression will be able to face new situations without difficulties. Through 
his flexible approaches toward the expression of his own ideas he will not 
only face new situations properly but will adjust himself to them easily. 
The inhibited and restricted child, accustomed to imitating rather than 
expressing himself creatively, will prefer to go along set patterns in life. 
He will not be able to adjust to new situations quickly but rather will try 
to lean upon others as the easiest way out. Since it is generally accepted 
that progress, success, and happiness in life depend greatly upon the ability 
to adjust to new situations, the importance of art education for personality 
growth and development can easily be recognized. 


The accompanying table summarizes the contrast between self-expres- 
sion and imitation. 

Self-expression Contrasted with 


Expression according to 
child's own level. 

Expression according to 
strange level. 

Independent thinking. 

Dependent thinking. 

Emotional outlet. 


Freedom and flexibility. 

Inhibitions and restrictions. 

Easy adjustment to new situations. 

Going along in set patterns. 

Progress, success, 

Leaning toward others, 
dependency, sdffness. 

The Significance of Self-identification 
Through Art 

Today people have to a great extent lost their ability to identify with 
what they do and also with the needs of their neighbors. The reason for 
this increasing lack of ability for self-identification may be found in 
certain trends in industry and also in education. Mass production appar- 
ently does not stimulate individual self-identification, and mass education 
seemingly does not contribute toward it either. Yet it is an established 
fact that self-identification with the things we do is essential for any 
well-balanced individual, and self-identification with the needs of our 
neighbors is one of the most important assumptions for cooperation. 
To be able to identify with those we fear, those we do not understand, 
those who appear strange to us is a prime requisite for a peaceful society, 
which combines humans of different creeds, colors, and heritages. 

In education the study of self-identification of the teacher with the 
needs of the child as well as that of the child with his own needs becomes 
a science — in our opinion, one of the most important sciences today. On 
its promotion the very future of our youth may depend, for nothing less 
is at stake than the ability of our youths to live cooperatively as well- 
balanced human beings in their society. Almost all fields in the social 
sciences can be understood better through self-identification than through 
a mere study of facts. Self-identification in teaching becomes the vehicle 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 29 

for any effective motivation, for without identifying with the needs of the 
growing child, we shall not be able to understand these needs. 

No art expression is possible without self-identification with the experi- 
ence expressed as well as with the medium by which it is expressed. This 
is one of the very intrinsic factors of creative expression. If we do not 
identify with these forces, art expression loses the very essence of its 
nature — its creativity. 

The different trends in art education today depend entirely on the dif- 
ferent emphases used by educators in identifying with the different forces 
determining creative processes. Some art educators identify predominantly 
with aesthetic criteria, art media and their application, the elements of 
design and their organization; others identify completely with the individ- 
ual who produces. While the one group of educators concentrates on the 
organization of the creative product and its design values, the other iden- 
tifies with the individual and his psychological needs only. In art education 
these trends must not be separated. They must be closely integrated, for it 
is the individual who uses his media and his form of expression according 
to his personal experiences. Since these experiences change with the growth 
of the individual, self-identification is a dynamic science. It embraces the 
understanding of social, intellectual, emotional, and psychological changes 
with the creative needs of the child. 


To identify with the needs of the growing child is, then, imperative for 
any successful teaching. In art education it means that the teacher must 
know the child and his creative needs in order to understand him fully 
and also to motivate him effectively. This is not always easy. Two impor- 
tant attributes are essential for complying with this task. 

1. The teacher must be able to subordinate himself and his desires to the 
needs of the child. 

2. The teacher must make himself acquainted with the physical and 
psychological needs of the child. 

For example, a teacher who sees a scribbling child must not only be 
able to identify with the needs of a child in this stage of development but 
he must also be able to identify with the particular needs of this individual 
child. Therefore, he must completely subordinate his adult needs or de- 
sires to those of the child. In order to be able to identify with the general 


needs of a scribbling child, he must make himself acquainted with the 
physiological as well as psychological characteristics of this developmental 
stage. Only then will he be able to identify with the particular needs of 
this individual child. Thus, it becomes essential that he study the needs 
of a scribbling child. If he discovers that the physical needs are of a 
purely kinesthetic origin, he will no longer motivate the child with 
visual imagery. He will then learn that an apple for this child is only 
something to eat, to smell, or to hold, and not to draw. The child in this 
stage of development has no desire to relate visual imagery to his draw- 
ing activity. He simply enjoys the motions on the paper. To go even 
further with the self-identification, the teacher should realize that the 
motions the child is making are for the child different in size from the 
way they appear to him. Sizes always are proportionate to our own self. 
He will then remember that a table or the square in his town that appeared 
large in size to him when he was a child now appears much smaller. 
Sometimes, then, a big motion on a big sheet of paper means almost the 
same as traveling or running on the paper to the child. The child's physical 
needs of motor activity therefore must be recognized in order to be prop- 
erly motivated. It might even become significant to know that the child 
in the beginning stages of scribbling usually does not focus continuously 
on the motions he produces. To identify with this sensation, we would 
only have to scribble or draw with our eyes "blank"; that is, not focused 
at all, looking, as it were, into space. The teacher will then understand 
the psychological significance it has for the child when he discovers that 
there is a relationship between his motions and the lines on the paper. 
That the child can repeat this performance is of great significance to him, 
because it gives him self-assurance and self-confidence that he can master 
a situation. 

Once the teacher has been able to identify with the general needs of a 
scribbling child, he will be able to discover the specific needs of a particular 
individual. He may find out that this child lacks freedom in his motions 
because he has been continually discouraged or has not been given an 
opportunity to experience his freedom in his motor activity. Another child 
may appear particularly timid, fearful to use his material. He might have 
been punished for breaking crayons or "spoiling" or "wasting" paper. 
There are many more such individual needs to be discussed in the chapter 
on scribbling, which can only be understood if the general physical and 
psychological characteristics typical of this stage of development are 

Figure 6. 

Unless the teacher subordinates his own self to the desires of the child 
and knows the child's general as well as specific physical and psycholog- 
ical needs, no proper self-identification is possible. Without it, the teacher 
will never reach the child with his motivations (see Figure 6). 


In spite of the teacher's fulfilling all the aforementioned prerecjuisites 
for an efTective motivation, it may happen that the child, through improper 
influences, has difficulties in identifying with what he is doing. Usually 
such children laugh about their own products or are continually un- 
satisfied with them. For these children the final product apparently is of 
greater significance than the working process. The child has lost his 


connection with his activity and only is eager to "please" others or him- 
self. False criticism or too great an emphasis on the final product may 
easily produce such an attitude. The child unable to identify with his own 
experience has lost confidence in his own creative activity. To try to boost 
the child's confidence in his drawing activity would only increase the 
child's frustration. "Yes, you can draw" or "See how beautifully you have 
done it" would only direct the child's attention to his own inefficiency. 
The final product is only the result of the preceding experience. If the 
child cannot identify with the experience, the final product will neces- 
sarily show it. 

It is therefore imperative that every child be able to face his own experi- 
ence. If he cannot identify with it, the motivation in his experience must 
be boosted and not the drawing activity! Not "You cannot draw picking 
flowers? Yes, you can draw it!" but "You do not know how to pick 
flowers? Show me how you would pick them." The child tnust be able 
to identify with his own experience before he can be motivated to produce 
creatively, as the urge for expression will only come through an intense 

Individual as well as classroom motivation must be presented in such 
a way that each child can identify with the given situation. Objective re- 
ports or illustrations are therefore unsuitable means for creating an in- 
spiring atmosphere. The easier it is for the child to include himself in a 
given situation, the more readily will he identify with it. 

Per onality differences and different reactions toward experiences, then, 
count for the enormous variety in kind and intensity of self-identification. 
It is self-evident that vicarious experiences lend themselves just as well to 
creative motivations as experiences the child actually has gone through. 
For both types of experiences, however, it is important that as great a 
variety of sensations, perceptions, and other experiences are activated as is 
possible. It is apparent that the sensitive child will become sufficiently 
motivated through his own power of recalling sensations, but in most 
cases it is necessary to confront the child with as great a number of experi- 
ences as possible in order that he may discover his own way of self- 
identification. For example, "sitting in a swing" will immediately bring 
to consciousness, in the sensitive child, all kinesthetic feelings of swinging 
back and forth, even the tickling sensation in his stomach; he will feel 
the texture of the rope in his hands, and he will experience the correspond- 
ing up and down of his motions with that of the horizon. All that and 
more will immediately be available for self-identification in the wide- 

Figure 7. "Mowing the Lawn," drawn by a six-year-old boy. 
The drawing shows a high degree of perceptual sensitivity. 

awake child. In Figure 7 we see a pencil drawing by a six-year-old boy 
who has watched his father mow the lawn. Notice how very aware he 
is of the sound, of the grass ahead of the mower that still needs to be cut, 
and of the mechanical features of the mower. See too that the boy identifies 
so closely with his father that he puts his own sneakers on him, with the 
important laces he has just learned to tie. 

However, a great number of children need to be faced with their experi- 
ences in order that they become strong enough for self-identification. This 
is still more true for experiences that are not directly drawn from the 
child's own life or are even vicarious. Since we do not know with which 
part or type of experience the individual child will identify, a great 
variety of sensations, perceptions, and imagery should be included in a 
good motivation. If a child lacks confidence in his art expression, the 
cause usually lies in too weak or too diffuse an experience. Such an experi- 
ence is not detailed enough for self-identification; its vagueness does not 
allow the child to grasp it and project himself into it. Therefore, never 
be satisfied with such a general statement as "I can't draw it." It is 
imperative to find out which experience was too vague for self-identifica- 
tion. "What is it that you wanted to draw?" would be the proper 


investigation from the side of the teacher. If a child said, for example, 
"I want to draw skating," the teacher would know that most probably the 
child had difficulties in identifying with his experience. The proper stimula- 
tion then would be to draw from the child a detailed account of experi- 
ences in order that he identify with them. "You don't know how to 
skate.'*" "How is your body when skating.''" "How are your legs — your 
arms.-*" "What do you wear.''" "How does it feel.'*" are questions that 
motivate the child in his ability to identify with his experiences. It is this 
self-identification with experiences that is one of the most vital assump- 
tions for producing creatively.''^ 


Experimentation has been considered a most common principle in art 
education. "Give the child enough art material, and he will find his way 
of expression." 

This attitude has done as much harm to the child as a meaningless 
restriction in the choice of art materials and procedures. Although it is 
commonly agreed that experimentation that may be harmful to physical 
growth is dangerous, we do not apply the same caution when we deal with 
the child's mental or emotional growth. For instance, we would never 
expose an infant to an unselected variety of foods in order to find out 
what is best for him. The child's ability to discriminate between "right" 
and "wrong," between materials that help him in his urge for expression 
and those that inhibit him is not developed, especially in early childhood. 
Yet psychologists agree that most of the influences affecting the child's 
mental or emotional growth occur during this decisive period. It is there- 
fore important to investigate more closely the attributes art media must 
have to promote self-identification of the child with his experiences. 

Before discussing these attributes, it seems imperative to clarify an 
existing confusion between what is commonly called technique and 


A technique is an individual's use of materials as a means of expression. 
Thus the same material may be used for different techniques, depending 
on the different ways it is used to express something. One child may use 
crayons only linearly; another may use the same material with the broad 
side. The one child may express himself by means of outlines; the other 
may require filled-in spaces to satisfy his needs. Thus a technique develops 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 35 

according to the individual's own needs. It is highly individual. A techni- 
que, therefore, cannot be explained or taught. Each child must develop 
his otvn technique. What can be explained is a procedure. A procedure 
consists of the different steps in the general principles in using a material. 
There are, for instance, general principles in making an etching. These 
principles refer to the preparation of the plate, the acid used for etching, 
the control of the process of etching, printing process, and so forth. These 
procedures can be explained to lead the student to a possible development 
of his individual technique. It is needless to say that a technique in etching 
cannot be developed unless the individual has an intimate understanding 
of the procedures and that a procedure such as etching would not only 
be too complex for children but would make them overconscious of the 
working process. 

From what has been said it becomes apparent that any procedure or 
material used with children must fit their special need for expression, 
because only then will the child be able to identify with the medium he 
uses. A technique that does not help the child to express his particular 
desires is therefore not a good one. Since the child's desires for, and needs 
of, expression change with his development and growth, it becomes 
evident that he will identify with diflferent art media during different 
developmental stages. Which are the attributes of an art medium that 
promotes self-identification? Three points seem to be the outstanding 

1. The art medium must conform with the child's own desire for ex- 

2. The art medium and art expression must become an inseparable 

3. No procedure or material should be replaceable by another one. 

Let us look, for example, at water color as the medium. The following 
seem to be outstanding attributes of this medium: water color is trans- 
parent when applied; it has a flowing, merging quality; since water colors 
merge easily, they can be mixed easily into the finest gradations; because 
of these mixing and merging attributes, water color changes easily in its 
characteristics; because of this changing condition, water color has a 
vibrating, atmospheric quality; because of this vibrating quality, it does 
not lend itself well to local color tones and surface appearance. The 
running and merging c]uality of the medium makes it unsuitable for 



purely linear expression; its transparency eliminates all types of working 
processes that call for work in layers, where one layer or brush stroke 
ought to cover the other. These are only a few attributes of the medium 
commonly called water color. In the light of these characteristics and the 
aforementioned three points necessary for the child's self-indentification 
with his art medium let us now look at the elTect water color would 
have on a scribbling child, on an average child of eight years, on a child 
of twelve years, and finally, on a youth of sixteen years. A more detailed 
account of the relations between art media and expression will be given 
in each chapter on the different stages of creative development, but it 
seems important to show in one example the necessary care that must 
be taken in stimulating self-identification through art media. 

Figure 8. To an involved child, scribbling is an important and 
meaningful activity. 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 37 

Since the child's main urges during scribbling are to identify with 
motor activity, the material used should encourage free expression of 
kinesthetic sensations without any intruding technical difficulties. Al- 
though large crayons or thick tempera paint can be controlled (see Figure 
8), water color, which has the tendency to run, would produce a blurred 
mass and render the child's motions as such indistinguishable. The child, 
unable to follow or gain control over his motions and unable to identify 
with them, would become discouraged and frustrated by such a technique. 
He needs an art medium especially suited to give easy expression to his 
urge for motor activity. If he scribbled with water color, the lines he 
produced with the wet brush would have to be interrupted frequently, as 
he would have to dip his brush into the water and paint. Such an interrup- 
tion would, without any doubt, interfere with a search for motor control. 
As he continued to fill his paper with brush strokes, the brush lines 
would run into one another, merging into a blurred, indistinguishable 
mass of colors in which the kinesthetic sensation and the child's urge 
for controlling them would become entirely invisible. As the child could 
no longer see what he desired to do, he would become frustrated in his 
desire for self-identification and would stop scribbling altogether. Even 
at a later stage of his scribbling, when he has the urge to name his 
scribbles, when he has the desire to give his scribblings distinct meaning, 
water color would interfere with his experience. Motions that have dif- 
ferent meanings can be separated much more easily in a linear technique 
than with blurring colors. Thus, it becomes clear that water color would 
greatly interfere with the needs of a scribbling child and is therefore an 
entirely unsuitable art material for this age level. 

An eight-year-old child wants to express his experiences by means of 
drawings or paintings that resemble nature only as far as significant 
characteristics may appear in both the child's drawing and in nature. The 
child's relationship to his environment thus is signified by the child's 
search for his otvn concepts. Through repetition these concepts often 
become schema. Yet self-introduced repetition is of great importance 
to the child, as it is a reflection of his need for finding order within his 
environment. This structuring of his world is an important assumption 
for the development of abstract thinking. The stage in which the child 
repeats the same form concepts for trees or man has, therefore, a great 
psychological significance. If we did not give the child the proper 
motivation to identify with his individual concepts, we would not do 
justice to the child's creative needs during this stage of development. 


Such form concepts of a tree or a man represent the child's knowledge 
of them and what is of emotional significance to him. Such form concepts 
consist of parts, all of which are meaningful to the child. These parts are 
not subject to any changes because of optical influences. A man or a tree 
will not change in sunshine or moonlight for a child of eight years. 
Illumination, light, or shadows do not influence the child's form concept. 
Therefore, any technical accident, such as unintentional shading or 
running of color, that destroys or changes his concept will interfere with 
his desire for expression. Unintentional changes are meaningless for the 
child of eight. They only destroy his concept, his relationship to his 
environment, his confidence, and his self-assurance that he can succeed in 
establishing definite relationships. 

As has been said before, the transparency of water color serves best to 
paint atmosphere and not definite form concepts. Its running quality 
introduces many accidents that do not lend themselves to repetition. Such 
accidents could be of a happy nature if the child could make active use 
of them as visual stimuli. Since in his painting the child is more 
concerned with expressing his own ideas than with visual stimuli, such 
accidents would only frustrate him in his feelings of mastery. An 
accident cannot be repeated. At an age when the desire for repetition is 
most definite, the inability to repeat would only be disappointing. An 
unintentional change through the running of paint would render the 
child's established concept meaningless to him. What often seems of 
aesthetic quality to adults may seem spoiled to the child because he cannot 
identify with it. It appears that only an art material and a technique 
that allow the child to develop his individual concepts without unnecessary 
restrictions are suitable for this stage of development. The techniques used 
must permit him repetitions if he so desires. Since water color changes 
too easily in tone and hue and cannot be directed as easily as poster paint, 
for example, it impedes the development of free art expression in an 
average eight-year-old child. 

A child of twelve years has discovered himself to be mentally and 
socially a part of the environment. He may still be a member of a gang. 
He loves to discover new things, to experiment, and to read fantastic 
stories. In art he will give expression to his new social and mental 
awareness. He will show his trend for search and experimentation. What 
formerly appeared an accident in painting will now be considered 
stimulating. The flowing, merging character of water color will be 
investigated. The child of twelve will soon find that he can get effects 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 39 

with water color that he cannot get with any other materiaL The child 
has become visually aware of his environment and will take great 
satisfaction in having found a medium by which he can give expression to 
this visual awareness. A dramatic sky will be made still more dramatic by 
letting the colors run as they want to. The dynamic quality of water color 
supports the twelve-year-old child perfectly in his search for new dis- 
coveries, for dramatic expression in nature, and above all, in his drive for 
visual stimuli. He may be surprised by what he can do through the many 
happy accidents that occur when the wet paint runs on the paper and 
merges in unexpected beauty. The visually aware child will benefit from 
such accidents. 

A sixteen-year-old youth has become critically aware not only of his 
environment but also of the work he produces. He therefore has definite 
intentions, not only of what he wants to express but also of how his final 
product should look. He might want to paint his visual environment and 
thus take into consideration all the changing effects of shape and color 
in distance and atmosphere; or he might want to express his subjective 
emotional relation to experiences and thus use color and form as pure 
means of expression. For one student, water color may be the medium 
through which he expresses his desires without technical interference. 
Another student may not find in water color the strong opaque quality 
he needs for the interpretation of his subjective relationships. Water 
color may be an obstacle to his expression. Thus, when art expression 
reaches the realm of conscious art approaches, it becomes a specific art 
medium, suitable for a very definite type of self-identification. This shows 
very clearly that not all art students have to be able to use water color. 
Although it may be the medium for the one, it may be frustrating to the 
other, depending on the type of self-identification with art medium and 

Five points seem important in selecting art materials and developing 

1. It is the job of the teacher to know and introduce the appropriate 
materials at a time when the child is most ready to use them in relation 
to his growth and free art expression. 

2. Every material or technique must make its own contribution. If a 
task can be done more easily by a different technique with a better effect, 
the wrong technique has been applied. 

3. The teacher should know that every child must develop his own 


technique and that every "help" from the teacher in showing the child a 
"correct" technique will only restrict the child's individual approach. 

4. An art material and its handling are only a means to an end. A tech- 
nique should not be taught as such, separated from its meaning. Used at 
the right time, it should help the child in his desire for self-identification. 
Perfection grows with the urge for expression. 

5. The simultaneous use of many different kinds of materials that fit 
the child's needs is of advantage because it exposes the child to the variety 
of procedures and makes him sensitive to various possibilities. 

It is not the material approach which needs emphasis in a materialistic 
period such as ours, for the human spirit should transcend the material 
into creative expression. 


Art on all levels is an expression of the human spirit. It expresses the 
relation of the artist to himself and to his environment. Since it expresses 
the experience of the creator with the thing and never the thing itself, it 
can only be understood and appreciated if we identify ourselves with the 
creator. This self-identification with the artist in understanding and 
appreciating his work will have to deal with three main factors, all closely 
interrelated : 

1. The level of the appreciator. 

2. The subject matter. 

3. The means of expression. 

1. The Level of the Appreciator. A creative product remains meaning- 
less unless the individual can relate himself to it. As self-evident as this 
sounds, in most of the art appreciation practiced in our classrooms the 
level of understanding and emotional relationship of the appreciator are 
almost completely neglected. Art is handed over one-sidedly, and it is not 
infrequent that the teacher speaks of a work of art completely oblivious 
of the fact that his listeners have not the least understanding of the high- 
sounding adjectives he relates to it. We have witnessed classroom situations 
in which the teacher, so fully and sincerely involved in his own appreci- 
ation of the work, completely loses contact with his pupils by neglecting 
their level of understanding and comprehension. It has been demon- 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 41 

strated that children react differently toward objects or pictures on dif- 
ferent developmental levels.'* Not taking into consideration the child's 
own needs by neglecting his responses would indeed be a frustrating 
experience. It is therefore important to base any aesthetic appreciation on 
the reaction of the pupil, and to expand his aesthetic level from there on. 
However, it must never be forgotten that the aim of art appreciation is 
not to "analyze" pictures or to "learn to understand" a work of art. 
It is much more important to make the individual sensitive to its values in 
order that he can relate to it meaningfully. "Relational statements are 
not on the plane of 'true' or 'false' intersubjectively. The same picture 
(or object) may inspire me and disgust you, but both our statements 
would have to be accepted as long as the relational 'to me' were understood 
to follow our judgments and as long as we both gave sincere reports. It 
is to be hoped that neither of us would end our appreciative experience 
there, but we would nonetheless begin there."^ Simple questions, such as 
"How do you feel about this picture, or object?" "Of what does it remind 
yoi^.^" "Do you like it?" "Why?" "Why don't you like it?" may well be 
the starting point for an appreciation that leads to a greater sensitivity of 
perceptual, emotional, and intellectual relationships. This comprehension, 
however, is geared to the individual and his growing sensitivity to mean- 
ingful aesthetic discoveries and not to an evaluation of the aesthetic 

2. The Subject Matter. The subject matter necessarily deals with con- 
tents. On all levels of art expression subject matter contents have always 
been of the greatest variety. They may have social significance, they may 
be of religious origin, they may be historic, scientific, entirely in- 
dividualistic, or purely abstract in nature. In every instance it is imperative 
for the creation of a work of art that the artist identify with his subject 
matter. In order to relive or appreciate his intentions, we have to put 
ourselves into the situation of the creator. For example, we cannot 
identify with the intentions of a child who depicts his home environment 
without learning of his home atmosphere, that is, the subject matter he 
has chosen. 

Although the choice of the subject matter has no influence on the 
intensity of self-identification, it is of prime significance for the creator. 
If the child chooses a subject in which he is not interested or to which 
he has little or no relationship, he will not be able to identify with it. The 
same holds true for the artist. Very often we hear that it does not matter 
what subject you choose for your creative production. "What is of 


final importance is the execution." To separate the content from its 
presentation would mean to deprive a body of its spirit. In a creative work 
subject matter and the way in which it is presented form an inseparable 
whole. In creative activity the urge for expression usually depends on the 
intensity of the experience. The more intensive the experience, the 
greater is the desire for expression. Since the child's spheres of interest 
change with his development and also with his environment, it is of 
prime importance that subject matter with which the child can easily 
identify be chosen. Conversely, the teacher will be able to see from the 
subject matter the child chooses just what the intellectual and emotional 
interests of the child are. 

As has been said before, the subject matter may be concrete or abstract. 
Even in simple experiences like rowing a boat the child can identify 
purely with the motion he feels in the boat, the subjective kinesthetic sensa- 
tion, or he may become visually bound up with the spectacle of the 
environment. The creative result may be an abstract expression of the 
kinesthetic feelings he had while rowing. He may completely identify 
the abstract motions he produces on the paper with his experience in the 
boat. However, he may also produce a pictorial representation of his 
relationship to the environment in which he was rowing. He may depict 
himself large or small depending on how significant he felt when he was 
rowing, or he may give us an account of his feeling for nature. In every 
instance we learn to understand and appreciate the child's relationship 
to his experience by identifying ourselves with his presentation. 

What has been said for the appreciation of the child's creative work is 
basically true also for the appreciation of great works of art. In bringing 
them closer to the child, we have to know that we must first of all make 
it possible for the child to identify with the artist's relationship to his 
subject matter. It is therefore of little value for the appreciation of a work 
of art simply to determine the content of it. In so doing, we have separated 
the soul from its body. One cannot exist without the other. By trying to 
identify with the intentions of the artist, we shall come closer to the under- 
standing and appreciation of his work. In this way we induce in the 
child the problems of the artist, and by so doing, we make him feel as did 
the creator. 

3. The Means of Expression. Self-identification with the means of 
expression for the purpose of a better appreciation of creative works may 
appear to be difficult for one who is not producing creatively. It will im- 
mediately become easier if we try to assign "life" to the different means 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 43 

of expression a creator has at his disposal. For example, if we think that 
a line is something living, it may move, it may live in friendship with 
another line, it may go visiting certain places, it may become excited, 
jump up and down, it may be quiet and calm, it may be aimlessly wander- 
ing about, or it may be "on business," going directly to a predestined place. 
It may even establish certain relationships with its environment, dominat- 
ing it or being a part of it. The same and many more signs of such living 
quality can be seen in all other main elements of expression, as in color 
and space for example. This does not mean that we experience a particular 
color as happy, sad, or lonely in relationship to its environment; it means 
that we should identify with the color as something living in the same 
way as we would identify with our friends. To follow the fate of a tone 
or theme in music as it meets others, passes them, or unites with them to 
produce chords and harmonies is a wonderful way of learning to 
appreciate music in its own realm. 

In the same way as we can identify with colors and tones, we can also 
identify with materials we are using. In fact every child does it, as when 
whittling a bow. First, he carefully tries to select the right branch — he 
predicts its behavior — he knows how much he can bend it. He would not 
do the same with wire. Wire behaves differently. He knows what to do 
with wood if wood wants to "feel beautiful," when it wants to show its 
grain at its best. How would wood "feel" when covered with paint .f* How 
insincere it would be for wood to look like marble! 

To identify with art media becomes even more important for the older 
child, who is more consciously aware of the significance of the final product 
and the means with which he reaches it. Art materials and procedures will 
then always remain subordinated to expression. How materials behave 
under different circumstances and conditions will then become a fascinat- 
ing part of art expression or art appreciation (see Figure 9). Instead of 
talking of skills or design characteristics, we would then be more justified 
in talking about the behavior of materials and elements of design under 
various conditions. This would immediately bring to light that lines, 
colors, spaces, or art materials have their own intrinsic characteristics and 
also their peculiar reactions just as if they were alive. 


It is well to remember that one of the major concerns of art education 
is its effect on both the individual and society in general. To live co- 
operatively as well-adjusted human beings in this society and to contribute 

Figure 9. Through the creative use of materials, 
these boys are producing imaginative masks. 

to it creatively have become most important objectives for education. It 
is impossible to live cooperatively and understand the needs of our neigh- 
bors without self-identification. As the child identifies himself with his 
own work, as he learns to appreciate and understand his environment by 
subordinating the self to it, he grows up in a spirit that necessarily will 
contribute to the understanding of the needs of his neighbors. As he 
creates in the spirit of incorporating the self into the problems of others, 
he learns to use his imagination in such a way that it will not be dif- 
ficult for him to understand the needs of others as if they were his own. 
In identifying with art media, by experiencing them in their living quality, 
the child will gain appreciation and insight into the meaningfulness of 
art and culture. As the child develops creatively, the other subjects in his 
learning will necessarily gain in importance by this process. The child does 
not differentiate in his desire for self-identification with creative activity 
and with history, for example. History, too, will become alive for the 
child as he becomes a part of it. Most of all it is important for this world 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 45 

that educators realize that our abiHty to identify with our work and the 
needs of our neighbors may ultimately be responsible for our survival. 

The Meaning of Integration in Art Education 


In the process of total integration the single elements to be integrated 
unite to form a new entity. In art education integration takes place when 
the single components that lead to a creative experience become an in- 
separable whole, one in which no single experience remains an isolated 
factor. What are the single elements to be integrated in a creative experi- 
ence? Four types of experiences seem to be outstanding: 

1. Emotional experiences. 

2. Intellectual experiences. 

3. Perceptual experiences. 

4. Aesthetic experiences. 

None of them appears in pure form. It lies in the nature of a creative 
experience that they all unite to form an entity. This intrinsic value of any 
art experience seems to be of great educational significance, since it 
promotes the natural tendency of growth. The child neither grows in 
single subject matter areas nor does he grow in a separate way physically, 
emotionally, socially, or mentally. Yet in education simultaneity of growth 
has largely been neglected. Too early specialization, especially on the 
upper levels of education, has prevented the child's integrated growth and 
has made man one-track-minded. In some areas he has developed this 
specialization to such a degree that he has lost contact with the society 
that has to handle his "achievements." This is particularly true of the 
sciences; the inability to integrate them with our social growth has 
created the great discrepancy between social and scientific achievement 
from which our time so badly suflfers. Integration in learning, therefore, 
becomes of major significance, since it may be responsible for leading our 
youth to a more unified and better adjusted life. 


If we want to understand a period and its characteristics, we should look 
at its cultural, social, and scientific achievements, and its art expression. If 


we want to understand a work of art fully, we should look at the time in 
which it was created, the circumstances that determined its style and art 
expression as well as the individual forces that led the artist to his form 
of expression. This interchange between social, political, and religious 
environment and art expression has always been of greatest significance 
for the understanding of a period. The total integration of all these aspects 
determines a culture. 

If later generations were to look at our contemporary culture, they 
would get a most confused impression. Gothic cathedrals are built between 
skyscrapers, and most advanced fields in science are taught in buildings 
of architectural styles or pseudostyles long outmoded. In this way a 
discrepancy is created between contemporary teaching and the false facade 
of the environment. And the educators may not even be conscious of this 
discrepancy. We cannot expect confidence from our youth in one aspect 
of our advancing society if we show distrust in another. By so doing 
teachers deprive themselves of the proper functioning of a most effective 
educational means — environment. In a well-integrated culture such dis- 
crepancies do not exist. 

It is clear that this is not a discussion of styles or even aesthetic attitudes, 
since both are only expressions of the time and its spirit. The influence 
that the environment has on growth is not a new discovery either of 
educators or of psychologists. An environment without relationship to 
the period in which it was created is like a building without a foundation, 
or like an individual who has lost connection with his own growth and 
now escapes into a world of meaningless stereotyped patterns. Only if we 
are unable to face a new situation do we try to find refuge in the repetition 
of conventional patterns. While teachers are generally aware of how 
education in pattern inhibits and restricts individuality — one of the most 
precious goods of a democratic society — they often fail to realize that a 
carrying over of styles meaningless to the spirit of the present day con- 
sists in nothing but an adherence to meaningless patterns. 

This disunity between art and society, between education and environ- 
ment, represents one of the factors from which our present time suffers. 
On the other side this disunity is clearly expressed by an art expression 
that because of its extreme individualistic character, almost loses its com- 
municative meaning. Thus, two extreme antipodes can be found within 
one culture: the tendency toward a confirmation of traditional patterns 
and the extreme individualistic trend in contemporary art. 

Home environment has always had the greatest influence on the growth 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 47 

and attitudes of youth. Here, too, later generations could find a most 
excellent expression of the lack of integration between contemporary life 
and culture. They would think that going from the dining room into 
the kitchen must have meant serious adjustments for the inhabitants. 
While the kitchen is the room into which the "modern age" has pene- 
trated, the living room is usually filled with assembly line patterns of 
outdated pseudostyled furniture. Yet we are not at all aware of the 
adjustment that has had to take place in moving over the centuries from 
the functionally designed kitchen into the outdated living room. The 
lack of awareness, too, belongs to the serious educational deficiencies of 
our time, for we can only remedy mistakes if we see them. We fail to 
distinguish between conscious appreciation of former styles or even 
sentimental adherence to meaningful objects, and unaware acceptance of 
traditional patterns. These existing contradictions must seriously affect our 
emotional being. 

It is obvious that no single individual can be made responsible for the 
lack of integration between our culture and scientific achievements, but 
these important characteristics of our time have to be understood 
especially by those who guide our youth. It is only when we see these 
discrepancies that we find the urge to change them. 

In order to understand and appreciate the implications of these con- 
trasting tendencies between art and society, let us compare some phases 
of the life of an educator of the present with one who lived in a previous 
culture. Whereas the Church was the main focal point of education during 
the Middle Ages, our schools have taken over this function today. During 
the medieval period the Church fostered the most contemporary architec- 
ture. The cloisters significantly influenced the building of their time. The 
children of this period learned in an environment as modern to them 
as any Frank Lloyd Wright or Saarinen architecture may be for our 
time. When the Cathedral of Florence was built, one of the most modern 
architects of that time was appointed, and Giotto began the famous 
campanile, which later was continued by Pisano. When, in 1462, Brunel- 
leschi added the dome, the first of its kind, as an entirely different concept 
of style and building, he did something perhaps more revolutionary and 
modern than comparable architectural changes of our times, for there was 
no one who complained about the differences in styles even within the 
one building. At that time it was quite common in building to show 
several styles. St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, which was started in 
Romanesque style, was continued in early and late Gothic, and finished 


in early Renaissance. Wliile most of our public school buildings progres- 
sively move toward a new contemporary style, in most of the institutions 
of higher learning we do not dare to erect a contemporary building on a 
pseudostyled average college campus, because we are afraid to disturb a 
traditionally established pattern. 

If the medieval educator wanted to leave his town, he could do so only 
by using horse-drawn coaches, the style of which was in complete agree- 
ment with the rest of his aesthetic environment. This uniformity of 
different areas of living determined the culture of the past. Today no one 
who has the choice of selecting an automobile would select an "outmoded" 
model. Obviously the latest streamlined model would be the first choice 
of the average American. Yet it is understood that no reference is made 
to the greater efficiency and power of later models, but to the aesthetic 
exterior, the upholstery, the styling of the dashboard, and so forth. Here 
we express a "taste" quite in contradiction to the one we expect in most of 
our homes. Are we then split personalities who accept different styles in 
different living areas — old-fashioned chairs at home, modern seating 
comfort in our cars, streamlined simplicity in the kitchen, and complex 
patterns of ornamentations in our bedrooms? Why is it that the utilitarian 
areas of living have accepted our modern style while our homes and 
social institutions still adhere to the past? Medieval man could pray in 
churches full of spiritual and religious power, built in the most con- 
temporary styles. The best and most progressive architects were chosen to 
design them. If one period changed, the style changed with its spirit. 
Today we pray in churches that are, for the most part, poor imitations 
of times long past. 

What is the reason for all these discrepancies in our modern social 
and cultural institutions? Apparently we have no confidence in these 
vital institutions, for if we felt the need to glorify them, the places that 
housed them would express this spirit. It seems that we have more con- 
fidence in our industrial power and institutions than in our religious 
forms, for we have quickly accepted the new styles for our factories. This, 
however, is significant in itself, as it reveals a most serious threat toward 
our ethics and civilization, especially as this is underlined by the fact that 
the home and family life of today have seemingly to find refuge in past 
periods. The apparent lack of confidence in our modern homes, too, 
constitutes a serious threat to our social forms of living. While the new look 
of our scientific buildings gives evidence of their living character, our 
educational buildings, especially those of higher learning, usually reflect 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 49 

the past, in an irresponsible adherence to an environment to which the 
youth of today has no relationship. 

It is quite obvious that denying the present would only mean to deny 
the self, to play ostrich. The consequences of such self-denial, of such an 
adherence to the past, are too serious to be overlooked. It would not only 
widen the gap between our industrial and scientific achievements on the 
one hand and our social and religious institutions on the other but also 
seriously affect individual adjustments. All too rarely vital and sincere 
examples of contemporary church and school architecture give evidence 
of a real strength of spirit. Education must awaken before it is too late. 
If we cannot adjust our educational achievements to the environment in 
which they grew, our education will be doomed to die, and with it our 
social and religious institutions, while science and industry will tri- 
umphantly bury them. 


From the foregoing the significance of integration for educational 
procedures can easily be seen, for without using integrative processes in 
educational procedures, we will never arrive at an integrated culture. 
Only when we begin with a well-integrated curriculum in early childhood 
will we be able to succeed. 

Integration 7neans neither correlation tvith, nor interpretation of, other 
subject matters outside of art. This represents the greatest misunderstand- 
ing of the meaning of integration. Teachers often think if history is 
illustrated, or interpreted in the art lesson, integration of the two subjects 
takes place. This is by no means true. In such a superficial situation neither 
is history explained nor does a creative experience become meaningful. 
In fact, both may have suffered. Yet integration might occur even in such 
a situation. Let us analyze the circumstances in which integration occurs 
and investigate the elements that promote or impede integration. 

As has been said before, the single elements lose their identity in total 
integration. What are the single elements of a historic incident that be- 
comes a creative experience? These elements may be of great variety and 
complexity; they consist of perceptual experiences such as visual, tactile, 
kinesthetic, smell, or taste sensations as well as aesthetic and other experi- 
ences. Let us for instance discuss the topic of the fir^t settlers landing on 
our shores. An illustration of the incident in the literal meaning will neither 
integrate design elements (that is, how an experience is expressed in 
a definite medium) with the individual experience of landing at an 


unknown place, nor will it aid the integration of movement, like jump- 
ing from the boat, or the integration of the smell and coldness of the 
atmosphere with all the other experiences. All these experiences will either 
remain undeveloped, disregarded, or as separate parts in a purely literal 
interpretation of a subject matter. Both design and subject matter remain 
isolated. Design, the power to express an experience in a medium, has 
not become meaningful, nor has the subject matter succeeded in becoming 
a part of the individual's experience. Integration does not occur from 
the outside; integration is not "made" by "assembling" two subjects; 
integration happens from within. This shows clearly that integration can 
only take place by self-identification. The integrated art experiences will, 
therefore, be different with each individual, according to the type of 
self-identification with the settlers who landed on our shores. As a child 
expresses his fight with the waves as a kinesthetic motion, the design 
becomes the carrier of his experience — so much so, that one can no longer 
be separated from the other. As one child identifies with the fight with 
the waves when landing, another's experience may be focused around the 
sensation of stepping on land after endless sailing. The way all these 
experiences are expressed and organized in art media, however, is intensely 
personal. Such integration cannot take place when the teacher says, 
"Children, let's draw the landing of the first settlers." It can only take 
place if the child identifies with the experience. "How would yoii feel if 
you were in the group that landed; if you were the child of a settler, who 
would lower you from the big sailboat down into the rowboat, in a wet 
cold atmosphere of a dawning day?" "How would you feel being rocked 
in your boat up and down by the waves?" The wave may become the line, 
and the line, the wave; so intensely integrated that one can no longer be 
separated from the other. Such motivation of self-identification is necessary 
to create the urge for expression, which ultimately may result in an 
integrated art experience. 

It has been demonstrated how integration occurs within the individual. 
Yet it has also been shown how such an integrative process may have its 
starting point in correlating different subjects. Research studies have shown 
that a close relationship exists between reading achievement and creative 
expression.^ It has been demonstrated that the children who show good 
spatial coordination are better readers. In fact, one study indicates that 
the rating of reading readiness by the use of drawings is a better predictor 
of reading achievement than is the teacher.^ Such studies should en- 
courage teachers to become more aware of the meaningfulness of Integra- 

The Importance of Creative Activity in Elementary Education 51 

tive experiences. This, of course, is not only true for reading; it can be 
done everywhere, providing better opportunity for integrative, experiences 
than can be done with separate, narrowly defined subjects. As long as 
learning is considered departmentalized, the child will develop in- 


1. Horace Heilman, "An Experimental Study of the Effect of Workbooks on 

the Creative Drawing of Second Grade Children" (Unpublished doctoral 
dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University, 1954). 

2. Irene Russell and Blanche Waugaman, "A Study of the Effect of Work- 

book Copy Experiences on the Creative Concepts of Children," Research 
Bulletin, The Eastern Arts Association, III, No. 1 (1952). 

3. L. P. McVitty, "An Experimental Study on Various Methods in Art Motiva- 

tions at the Fifth Grade Level" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The 
Pennsylvania State University, 1954). 

4. Jean Holland, "Childrens Responses to Objects in Daily Living, a Develop- 

mental Analysis" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The Pennsylvania 
State University, 1955). 

5. Kenneth Beittel, "Appreciation and Creativity," Research Bulletin, The 

Eastern Arts Association, V, No. 1 (1954), p. 17. 

6. Irene Russell, "A Study of Relationship Between Reading Achievement and 

Creative Expression," Research Bulletin, The Eastern Arts Association, I, 
No. 1 (1950). 

7. Anna Grant Sibley, "Drawings of Kindergarten Children As a Measure of 

Reading Readiness" (Unpublished masters' thesis, Cornell University, 


The Meaning of Art 
m the Classroom 

Art with all its variety and manifestations can become a fascinating and 
helpful study in any classroom. To delve into the various areas of develop- 
ment in art gives new meaning and understanding to child growth which 
is dynamic. A thorough knowledge of the meaning and significance of 
the creative process and the place of the product therefore becomes of 
great importance. 

The Importance of Creative Products 

In studying the creative product of a child, we must first of all consider 
the purpose. Do we study it for our own purpose of gaining insight into 
the child's growth, his experiences, his emotions, his interest.'' Or do we 


The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 53 

want to evaluate the child's work for the purpose of showing him his 
strengths, his weaknesses, his creative abilities, his skillfulness or his lack 
of skill; in other words, to classify him? 

One important factor should be kept in mind in discussing the meaning 
of creative products. Of prime significance is the influence of art educa- 
tion on child growth. It may happen that a most "primitive" (and from 
an adult viewpoint, ugly) work may be more significant to the child than 
a well-executed (to the adult's eye, pleasing) work. It may occur in many 
classrooms that a child "finds himself" in a painting, and an emotional 
block that inhibited him in his growth is removed. The child can identify 
with himself — maybe for the first time — in his creative work. Yet the 
work he produces may be aesthetically insignificant. It is obvious that 
such a change in his life is of far greater importance than any final 
product. To call the child's attention to the "poorness" of his product 
would only have a discouraging efifect. It may even put the child back to 
his former status. It would also direct the child's attention to the final 
product and thus make him aware of "qualities," which are either mean- 
ingless or inconceivable to him. By encouraging the child in his work 
only because he has acquired greater skills in technical performances 
than others, we would signify that we are mainly interested in technical 
performances. We would thus neglect the most important meaning of art 
education in the elementary classroom — the promotion of the child's 
growth. On the other hand, if we recognize the significance to the child 
of his creative product, however "poor," we give the child confidence 
and encouragement and make him feel that he is on the right track. In 
this way he will gain the creative freedom that is necessary for his 
emotional growth and that encourages the type of independent thinking 
that is a part of his intellectual advancement. Creative ivor\s must be 
understood on their individual merits. This is highly significant and is true 
for all levels of teaching. 

The understanding of children's creative works will not only differ from 
individual to individual but also from one stage of development to the 
other. An experience that may be significant but meaningless to a child of 
seven years may be meaningful to a child of twelve. It also becomes evident 
that a study of a child's creative works, is made by the teacher to gain 
insight into the child's growth and not in order to confront him with his 
weaknesses or strengths. The first will help the teacher in understanding 
his pupils in their creative intentions and also in many phases of life 
outside art; the latter will only increase the child's difficulties in finding 



himself and gaining confidence in his creative expression. By discriminat- 
ing "good" from "bad" without regard for the child's individual desires, 
we would only set rigid standards. These standards, well known to class- 
room teachers, encourage the child who lacks confidence in his own work 
to copy. Unable to compete, he will give up his work. The result of such 
practices is discouragement, lack of confidence, and inhibition of one 
group and a go-ahead signal to a selected few. This is in contradiction 
to any basic philosophy that intends to help the child in his creative and 
mental growth. 

A study of the child's work is significant only if it helps the teacher to 
gain insight into the child's growth in order to effectively motivate the 
child in his creative needs. 


One of the very first criteria in looking at a child's work of art should 
be whether the child identifies himself with what he does. Is there an 
active desire in the child to express himself, or does he just draw "some- 
thing," or is he inhibited, saying, "I can't draw"? If an active desire for 
self-expression is present, it will not be difficult for the teacher to find the 
child's intentions. The easiest way of doing it is to ask the child, "Johnny, 
what are you doing? Tell me something about your painting." If Johnny is 
not verbally inclined, or does not want to talk, he should be encouraged 
to express himself verbally. This is a part of an integrated creative 
activity. "What does this mean in your drawing?" may start him off. 
Great care must be applied not to use suggestive questions: "Does this 
mean this or that?" is a question that will easily reveal to the child your 
lack of understanding. Let the child freely express and explain his work. 

However, if the child just draws "something" and does not show any 
visible desire for active participation, it must first be determined whether 
there is no desire or whether an active desire for expression is "hidden." 
This, too, is not difficult to find out. It can best be seen in the type of 
discrepancy between his verbal expression and his projection. If he says, 
"There is just a tree and a house," and does not give another comment, 
even when encouraged, then in most of the cases he did not intend to draw 
anything specific but "something." However, if he tells of things not 
represented or visible, then we have to search for individual symbols, 
which may express what he said and often reveal even more. One child 
drew a man horizontally, and to his left drew two circles, one with some 
scribbles in it. Pointing at the circles, the child said, "The one is a glass 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 55 

of water and the other a plate with cookies I get to eat when I am hungry 
in bed." Immediately, this revealed the child's close identification with 
his drawing, which superficially looked meaningless, and also his per- 
ceptual experiences and his home atmosphere. It revealed that touching 
the upper circle of the glass was more important to the child than seeing 
it. It also revealed that the child apparently was often left alone, perhaps 
in darkness, and given a plate of cookies as a reward, which, together 
with the glass of water, was placed to his left on the night table. In the 
darkness the child apparently wanted to assure himself of their presence 
and repeatedly reached out to touch the objects. By touching them, he 
became more conscious of the top of the glass and the plate than of the 
"side view"; accordingly, he merely drew the two circles that he "felt" 
to the left of himself. Neither the bed nor the night table was included 
in the drawing. 

Thus, the drawing revealed his complete experience, his relationship to 
his environment, his feeling in darkness, and his perceptual experience of 
a predominance of the sense of touch. It also revealed a home atmosphere, 
which, as it was found later, was a great disadvantage for the development 
of the child. Thus, apparently insignificant creative works that do not 
immediately show a close relationship between the child and his work are 
often very revealing. Before we consider that a child is detached from 
his work and just drawing "something" we must make sure of the child's 

The child who just draws "something" has apparently no particular 
relationship to his experience. The establishment of a relationship there- 
fore becomes of utmost importance. This is achieved differently for the 
various developmental stages, and specific methods of motivation appear 
in each of the chapters dealing with the stages of development. 

To motivate children who at least draw "something," to establish a 
closer relationship between them and their work, will not be found as 
difficult as to encourage children who have lost connections with their 
expression altogether and simply react with the usual comment, "I can't 
draw." Some interference has occurred with their desire for self-identifica- 
tion as well as with their ability to project it. Many of these interferences 
occur in early childhood, when the initiative for self-expression is broken 
by showing the child how to do things. "What shall I do when my 
youngster of four years continually asks me to draw something for him? 
If I draw something for him he appears satisfied" is a common remark. 
Yet few parents realize that with such actions they may destroy the 

Figure 10. 

initiative of the child to express himself creatively. The reason for the 
I-can't-draw child can also be found in the type of criticism based on 
adult standards rather than on the child's own. At any rate if the teacher 
wishes to evaluate creative work to aid a child in his growth, it will be 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 57 

of great help to the teacher to find the cause of the child's inhibitions. 
For the establishment of self-identification of the child with his work it 
is necessary to give him confidence in his experience. Since the self is the 
center of the child's experiences, it is best to start with experiences that 
refer to the immediate self. In using the self and its relationship to 
environment, the teacher has also the best opportunity to control and boost 
the experience until the child has won confidence in his mode of expres- 
sion. Even in stages beyond early childhood the motivation of experiences 
concerning the self is most effective in giving the individual enough 
confidence to project his experiences. 


Another important criterion in the study of the child's creative work 
is its meaningfulness, or the degree to which the child identifies with his 
experience and its expression. Degrees of emotional intensity are always 
matters of subjective value judgments. The degree of intensity in a child's 
creative work can usually be found by comparing several examples. The 
sensitive teacher will have no difficulties in recognizing the creative works 
with which the child felt most intimately bound up. To watch the child 
during the working process is, however, the most exact measurement. 
The more children ask questions, the more they look around, the more 
they look at others' work, the less they are bound up with their own 
works. The child who is completely involved in his own work has no 
interest in asking questions, no time to look around; he has so much 
confidence in his experience that he does not need to look for inspiration 
from others' work (see Figure 10). He will work without interruption 
to a definite end. 

Usually, technical performance goes hand in hand with the meaning- 
fulness of the child's work. This should not surprise us, for it is the urge 
to express something meaningful that creates the desire for greater per- 
fection. Technique grows out of the urge for expression. We know this 
very well also from other areas of activities. We have seen youngsters 
whittling bows and arrows, beginning in a very crude fashion but through 
an urge for greater perfection ending up with "professional" jobs. How 
can the meaningfulness be increased through motivation? 

The meaningfulness of a motivation largely depends on two questions: 
(1) Is the motivation adequate to the developmental stage? (2) Is the 
motivation keyed to the specific interest of the child.? 

It is quite clear that a motivation that is not keyed to the child's level 



does not become meaningful to him. For example, a scribbling child being 
motivated by visual imagery would be unable to conceive of it, much as 
an eight-year-old child could neither understand nor conceive of mechani- 
cal perspective. The only motivation meaningful to the child would be a 
motivation adjusted to his stage of development. This, however, is not 
enough for a meaningful motivation because it would also be useless or 
even detrimental to his creative work if we were to divert a child from his 
own interests. There are two types of interests that we always have to 
keep in mind. The one depends on the general developmental stage, the 
group interest; the other is determined by the single child, the individual 
interest. For example, a child of six or seven years, according to his de- 
velopmental stage, is necessarily self-centered. What is of immediate value 
to him is significant. Everything is focused around the "I" and "my." 
The meaningfulness of a motivation for a child of this stage of develop- 
ment will therefore depend on whether an experience is focused around 
the "I" and "my." It may happen that a child has a new doll to play with. 
Her individual interest and emotions are keyed to the doll. To divert her 
from it by imposing something to which she has no relationship would 
only be detrimental to her creative expression. This does not mean that a 
child who is interested in her doll cannot be effectively motivated in other 
spheres of her own interest. Such motivations, however, are only effec- 
tive if the whole child is reached (see Figure 11). 

Art as a Means of Understanding Growth 

Very often the mistake is made of evaluating the child's creative work 
by only one component of growth, most often by external aesthetic criteria 
— the way a creative product looks, its design quality, its colors and shapes 
and their relationships. This is unjust not only to the creative product 
but even more to the child, since growth cannot be measured by external 
criteria of aesthetics only. Aesthetic growth, although very important, 
constitutes only one fraction of the total growth of the child. However, 
since art has traditionally been interpreted as relating mainly to aesthetics, 
this concept is greatly responsible for the neglect of the other factors of 
growth. In art education the final product is subordinated to the crea- 
tive process. It is the effect of this process on the child which is significant 
in his total growth. 

It also needs to be pointed out that the different components of growth 

Figure 11. The child with a new toy is eager to translate her feel- 
ings into creative expression. 

are almost never equally distributed. A child may be very free emotionally, 
yet he may not be very original in his approaches, his thoughts and 
feelings, and therefore not be very creative. Another child may be very 
creative and inventive but may have little feeling for organization, for 


design. His aesthetic growth has not been adequately developed. Still an- 
other child may be highly endowed creatively and also aesthetically, yet 
his lack of motor control, shown in his lack of physical skills, may hold 
him back in his creative expression. There are highly intelligent children 
whose intellectual growth has far outranked the remaining qualities of 
growth. Such children may be hindered in using their intelligence 

In order to understand and evaluate total growth better, an analysis of 
the significance of the different components of growth is given in the 
following paragraphs. 


The emotional release given by a creative work to its creator usually is 
in direct relation to the extent and to the intensity with which he identi- 
fies with his work. Neither the extent nor the intensity is easily measurable. 
Usually four steps of self-identification can be recognized:^ 

1. Stereotyped repetitions. 

2. Pure objective reports or generalizations. 

3. Occasional inclusion of the self or substitutes for it. 

4. The inclusion of experiences of the self. 

Frequent stereotyped repetitions are usually seen in the drawings of 
children who have adjustment difficulties. Every adjustment to a new 
situation implies flexibility, flexibility in thinking and also in imagination. 
In severe cases of emotional maladjustments the ability to adjust to new 
situations may be extremely low. There was a girl for whom the slightest 
change in her situation called for a serious adjustment. For example, 
when she was unexpectedly asked to get a glass of water, she withdrew 
into a cramped position, unable to respond to the request. For her, getting 
a glass of water meant changing her position, getting up, stretching, 
going, finding a direction, finding the sink, the faucet, turning on the 
water, and many more changes of her present situation. Unable to face 
these changes and to adjust to them, she withdrew into a stereotyped 
cramped position. In her drawings, too (see Figure 12), she felt most 
secure by repeating the same meaningless, stereotyped patterns of the 
same schema of a figure." This, too, expressed an escape into a world in 
which she felt secure. Only when her drawing became meaningful to her 
did her inflexibility gradually disappear; only when she was able to adjust 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 61 

to a new situation did her drawing show more self-identification. Emo- 
tionally maladjusted children frequently escape into a pattern-like repre- 
sentation. Such stereotyped patterns are not adjusted to a particular 
experience of the child nor do they show a conscious desire for expression. 

Figure 12. Meaningless repetition of a stereotype 
is symptomatic, here, of an evasion of reality. 

The child simply repeats a schema in a rigid way because of his inability 
to adjust to a new situation. Such stereotyped, rigid repetitions thus ex- 
press the lowest type of emotional release. Into this category of representa- 
tion also belong all types of copy work. This, too, represents a stereotyped 
form of representation, a type of representation in which self-identification 
does not take place. Here, too, the child often is inhibited by adults, and 
unwilling or unable to express his own world of experiences, he escapes 
into a world of patterns. Copy work or tracing most often does not grow 
out of the child's inability to face new situations. Most often it is imposed 
and not a part of the child's behavior characteristics. Often, however, the 
continued use of copying methods deprives the child of his flexibility. The 
child accustomed to depending on given patterns no longer has the desire 
to adjust to new situations; he merely chooses the path of least resistance. 


Yet if the child continues the use of given patterns, the end effect will be 
similar to the one of emotional maladjustment. Accustomed to dependency 
and rigidity in his creative work, the child's behavior reactions in general 
will reflect this tendency, because the child in his reactions does not dis- 
tinguish between his different activities. They all reflect the total growth 
of the child. Thus, when copy work prevents the child from facing and 
expressing his own world of experiences, the child may ultimately lose 
confidence in his own work and resort to stereotyped repetitions as a 
visible escape mechanism. 

It should, however, be kept in mind that there is a natural tendency 
for repetition in children's drawings during the schematic stage. Stereo- 
typed repetitions, however, can easily be distinguished from the child's 
natural desire for repetition. Stereotyped repetitions do not show any 
deviations, whereas the repeated form concept during the schematic stage 
is used flexibly. From what has been said, it becomes evident that the 
degree of emotional release in creative activity depends largely on the 
creative freedom of the child: the more often stereotyped repetitions occur 
in the child's creative work, the greater is the inflexibility of the child. 

Individual satisfaction that the child obtains from his work is not al- 
ways indicative of its meaningfulness for the child's growth. A child who 
escapes into stereotyped patterns may gain much individual satisfaction 
from the drawing of meaningless repetitions. The very escape from facing 
a world of experiences is a form of individual satisfaction, no matter how 
detrimental it may be for the child's growth. As we know from experi- 
ence, emotionally maladjusted children most often feel greatly disturbed 
when something interferes with their escape mechanisms. When left 
alone, one emotionally maladjusted girl found apparent individual satis- 
faction in countless repetition of stereotyped schema. Whenever she was 
diverted from them by being confronted with her own experiences, she 
became greatly disturbed. Yet ultimately this very disturbing factor 
brought her out of her own limitations and gradually adjusted her to life 
situations. Such cases are by no means rare. We find them daily in our 
schools — in children's and also in teachers' reactions. "But my children 
love to draw from coloring books" is a well-known remark. An escape 
into a pattern is a protection from exposure to the world of experiences. 
It is a false protection, the same overprotection that some parents impose 
upon their children. A continued overprotection conditions the child to 
it and deprives him not only of his freedom but also of his ability to 
adjust to new situations. An overprotected child sent to camp may sit 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 63 

in a corner and cry for his protection, unable to use and enjoy the freedom 
to which he is exposed. He apparently was individually satisfied in his 
overprotection, but such individual satisfaction is no indication of the 
value of such methods. A child who loves to trace or do copy work may 
gain individual satisfaction from such an occupation. However, such 
satisfaction is based upon a false feeling of security and the fear of being 
exposed to new experiences. Instead of being actively engaged in his own 
world of experiences, the child escapes into a passive state of mind, which 
is undesirable and unhealthy for life adjustment, citizenship, and a 
healthy personality. 

If individual satisfaction does not go hand in hand with growth, it is 
of no value. If, however, individual satisfaction grows out of a feeling of 
achievement, if it is the result of one's ability to cope with a situation 
actively, it is a vital human experience that greatly contributes to the 
acquisition of self-confidence and happiness in life. 

An emotionally dull or detached child will express his detached feelings 
by not including anything personal in his creative work. He will be satis- 
fied by a mere objective report: "There is a tree, there is a house." Nothing 
is included that may indicate his relationship to these objects. There are 
no other intentions but to represent the objects. Such detached art expres- 
sion can be seen in first stages of child art as well as in developed forms 
of art expression. In the beginning stages such detachments can easily be 
detected. Usually the child adheres to a mere schema: trees are all alike 
with little or no deviations; so are houses and other objects. Figures are 
usually not included at all; if so, they show neither action nor variety in 
characteristics. In more developed art expression the emotionally detached 
individual who objectively reports in his work without any participation 
on his part often covers this lack by skillful performances, or mannerisms. 

An occasional inclusion of the self can be seen as soon as the child has 
achieved some emotional tie to his work and feels free enough to give 
it visible expression. By inclusion of the self we mean any form of inclu- 
sion, direct or indirect. 

In a direct inclusion of the self the child actually participates in his 
drawings: he may appear directly in his creative work, or he may transfer 
his feelings to someone else. A child may indirectly include the self by 
characterization of objects: a house or tree that is meaningful to the child 
may have certain characteristics that other houses or trees do not have. A 
child who is emotionally free and uninhibited in creative expression feels 
secure and confident in attacking any problems that are derived from his 


experiences. He will closely identify with them and will with ease adjust 
to accidental situations that may arise from his work in dealing with 
different materials and media. Thus the emotionally stable individual is 
characterized by the great ease and flexibility with which he can identify 
with his own world of experiences. 


Intellectual growth is usually seen in the child's growing awareness of 
himself and his environment. In young children's drawings the details the 
child can think of are indicative of his intellectual alertness. The knowl- 
edge that is actively at the child's disposal when he draws may then 
indicate his intellectual level. This knowledge changes with the chrono- 
logical age of the child. Yet even in children of the same age, a great 
variety of active knowledge can be seen. This difference usually indicates 
the difference in intellectual comprehension.'^ A child of five years who 
draws a man with only head and legs (Figure 13) is intellectually in- 
ferior to a child who also includes the body and features (Figure 14). A 

Figures 13 (left) and 14 (right). There is a wide range of difference in active 
knowledge, as portrayed in tliese drawings of a man by five-year-old children. 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 65 

careful account of the significance of details in normal development is 
given in each chapter of the different developmental stages in the latter 
part of this book. A drawing full of subject matter details comes from a 
child with high intellectual awareness. This may not necessarily be a 
"beautiful" drawing. The details may often be scarcely recognizable. The 
child's feeling for aesthetics or his ability for skillful execution may often 
lag behind his intellectual comprehension. As the child grows, details 
will have a different meaning to him. Details may then refer to a greater 
differentiation in color and a more detailed account of size and space re- 
lationship, or a recognition of social issues. Yet we must not make the 
mistake of thinking that lack of details of any sort in the creative expres- 
sion of children always means low mentality. Very often emotional restric- 
tions block the development of the child's intellectual abilities; or also, 
the child's "intellectualizing" of his experiences may restrict his emo- 
tional freedom. In both cases the child's creative expression may suffer. 
It is for this reason that we often hear of children who are "very good in 
drawing" and seemingly poor intellectually, and others who are apparently 
"poor in drawing" and intellectually superior. For the development of a 
healthy personality it is of utmost significance that a proper balance be 
J{ept betiveen emotional and intellectual growth. If a child is found to 
be restricted in his creative expression and yet highly developed intel- 
lectually, he must be given more art motivation in order to achieve the 
mentioned balance. If a child is found to be rich in art expression but 
otherwise seemingly below his intellectual standard, he must be given 
help and confidence in his desire for intellectual achievements. Our present 
educational system suffers greatly from an overemphasis of intellectual 
growth. Learning, that is, the acquisition of knowledge, stands almost 
exclusively in the focus of education. It is just as important for the child 
to gain freedom in expression as it is for him to get more knowledge. In 
fact, knowledge will remain unused, frozen, unless the child develops the 
urge and the freedom to use it. 


Physical growth in the child's creative work is seen in his capacity for 
visual and motor coordination, in the way he guides the line, controls his 
body, and performs his skills. 

In the beginning the mere coordination of body motion with the marks 
on the paper will be indicative of the child's physical growth from a state 
of passive enjoyment of uncontrolled motion to a level of coordinated body 


activity. In the later stages of development this coordination of body ac- 
tivities becomes more intricate. The sensitivity that is often necessary to 
make most minute changes needs the finest muscle coordination. 

It is, however, not only this direct participation in body activities that 
indicates physical growth in creative activities; the conscious and uncon- 
scious projection of the body self into the creative work and the complete 
self-identification of the creator with his creation account for much of 
the body control growing out of this type of creative activity. It can easily 
be understood that a child who puts motion into an arm of a modeled 
figure feels this movement in his own body. Thus, the child with a high 
and sensitive consciousness of body experiences will not only show good 
coordination and control of lines and brush strokes in his work but will 
also project his ability for body control into his work. This conscious 
projection of body movements into creative art expression is accompanied 
by a kind of projection that apparently results from an unconscious pres- 
ence of muscular tensions and general body feelings. Very often we can 
see that children with defects project these defects into their creative works. 
Some drawings by crippled children have clearly revealed the body defect 
by either an overemphasis or omission of the afTected part. This projec- 
tion, called body imagery, also shows the close relation between physical 
growth and creative activity. 


The cultivation and growth of our senses has been largely neglected in 
our educational system. Were it not for art education, the child would 
scarcely be reminded of the meaning and quality of his sense organs. Yet 
their proper use is of such vital importance, for the enjoyment of life and 
for vocational purposes, that we cannot afford such neglect. 

In creative activity perceptual growth can be seen in the child's in- 
creasing awareness and use of kinesthetic experiences, from the simple 
uncontrolled body movements during scribbling to the most complex co- 
ordination of arm and linear movements in artistic production. It can be 
seen in the growing response to visual stimuli, from a mere conceptual 
response as seen in early child art to the most intricate analysis of visual 
observation as seen in impressionistic art in which form, color, and space 
are subordinated to the impression of the total picture. In this area of 
visual perception belongs the growing sensitivity toward color from the 
stage of mere enjoyment and recognition of color in early childhood to 
the ever changing relationships of colors in difTerent light and atmosphere. 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 67 

Even auditory experiences are often included in art expression (see 
Figure 7). This inclusion ranges from the mere awareness of sounds and 
their inclusion in children's drawings to sensitive reactions to musical 
experiences transferred into art expression. 

Perceptual growth further reveals itself in the growing sensitivity to 
tactile and pressure sensations, from the mere kneading of clay and touch- 
ing of textures to the most sensitive reaction in clay modeling and other 
forms of sculpturing and the enjoyment of the different qualities of sur- 
faces and textures in interior decoration and other art forms. In addition 
to these factors of perceptual growth the extremely complex area of space 
perception must be added. To the child space means the immediate area 
around him, the area that has significance to him. As the child grows, 
the space around him grows, and the way in which he perceives it changes. 
Space can be perceived visually, by seeing objects at various distances, 
and also nonvisually, by actually moving in space. We then distinguish 
between visual orientation in space and kinesthetic orientation, which is 
used by people who have no sight, or do not use it. Both these orientations 
decisively aflfect art expression. 

Children who make extensive use of perceptual experiences include in 
their creative expression kinesthetic sensations, tactile and visual experi- 
ences, and also a sensitive awareness of shapes, colors, and the environ- 
ment that surrounds them. In contrast to them are children who are 
rarely affected by perceptual experiences. Their creative products show 
timidity in lines and brush strokes as an expression of lack of kinesthetic 
enjoyment; they show poor visual imagery, little or no ability to observe, 
and no inclusion of experiences relating to tactile or other sense ex- 


One of the factors of foremost significance in human growth is the in- 
dividual's growing ability to live cooperatively in his society. This ability 
cannot be developed unless the child learns to assume responsibility for 
the things he is doing. Unless the child identifies with his own experiences, 
this is not possible. Therefore, the first step in social growth is made by 
facing one's own experiences. There is scarcely a better means for taking 
this highly important step than creative activity. It lies in the very nature 
of a creative process that the individual identifies with it. In this way he 
not only discovers himself and his needs but also learns to identify with 
the needs of others. Though the child's immediate self and his home 


environment will be the starting point for creative experiences, he will 
soon discover that he is not alone and independent. The inclusion of 
others in his creative work, the close self-identification with the needs of 
others, will lead the child to the discovery of the group. He will find 
much satisfaction through group work, a very important part of creative 
activities. During the important period that we shall call the gang age, 
the child discovers his social independence with a group. The arts can 
greatly contribute, through cooperative work, in giving this newly dis- 
covered feeling a constructive meaning.'"" This feeling of social conscious- 
ness and responsibility is of great significance for the child's understanding 
of a larger world of which he will become a part. 

In appreciating the arts of other cultures, the child will discover that 
"the arts are avenues by which the highest meaning of a whole society or 
culture can be felt, understood, and transmitted from one generation to 
the children and youth of the next."" 

The creative works of children who are cooperative and conscious of 
their social responsibilities show a close feeling for self-identification with 
their own experiences and also with those of others. The products of 
children who are socially handicapped, or were suppressed in their desires 
for social participation, show their isolation by a lack of ability to correlate 
their experiences to those of others. Their works shows inconsistent, 
spatially uncorrected items and the inability to identify themselves with 
others in subject matter as well as action.^ 


Aesthetic growth is one of the inherent attributes of any form of crea- 
tive activity. Herbert Read calls aesthetic education "the education of 
those senses upon which consciousness, and ultimately the intelligence 
and judgment of the human individual, are based. It is only in so far 
as these senses are brought into harmonious and habitual relationship with 
the external world that an integrated personality is built up. Without such 
integration we get not only the psychologically unbalanced types familiar 
to the psychiatrist, but what is even more disastrous from the point of 
view of the general good, those arbitrary systems of thought, dogmatic 
or rationalistic in origin, which seek in spite of the natural facts to im- 
pose a logical or intellectual pattern on the work of organic life. This 
adjustment of the senses to their objective environment is perhaps the 
most important function of aesthetic education."^ 

Aesthetic growth is thus essential for any well-organizxd thinking, feel- 
ing, and perceiving, and for expression of these in communicable form. 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 69 

In fact, it is a part of any proper organization of whatever media we have 
at our disposal. Depending on the media, we then deal with the different 
art forms as expressions of this organization. The proper organization of 
words we call poetry; the harmonious organization of spaces we call 
architecture; of tones, music; of lines, shapes, and colors, painting; of 
body movements, dance. This organization does not start on any arbitrary 
line. It may start anywhere — in life, in play, in art. That is why our whole 
personality is affected by aesthetic principles. Wherever organization is 
lacking, the mind disintegrates. Aesthetics, therefore, not only affects the 
single individual but also our whole society. Aesthetic growth is organic 
with no set standards; it may differ from individual to individual and 
from culture to culture. It is this that distinguishes it from any arbitrarily 
set organization. Also in art, aesthetic criteria are based on the individual 
work. A creative work grows by its own aesthetic principles. If we attempt 
to regiment aesthetics, we arrive at dogmatic laws, which have their ex- 
pression in totalitarian rules. This has important implications for aesthetic 
growth. It implies that all set rules, rigidly applied to any creative ex- 
pression, are detrimental to aesthetic growth. 

In the creative products of children aesthetic growth reveals itself by 
an increasing sensitivity to the total integration of all experiences con- 
cerning thinking, feeling, and perceiving. This total integration can be 
seen in the unity of a harmonious organization and expression of thoughts 
and feelings by means of spaces, lines, textures, and colors. Children who 
lack aesthetic growth show no feelings for organization either in their 
thoughts or feelings or in the expression of them. 

From what has been said it can easily be understood that aesthetic edu- 
cation should be one of the main forces in a democratic society. 


One of the major distinctions between man and animal is that the man 
creates and the animal does not. Creative growth mainly consists of the 
power to use freely and independently and to apply the six aforementioned 
components of growth for an integrated effort. Creativity is an instinct 
all people possess, an instinct with which we were born. It is the instinct 
we primarily use to solve and express life's problems. The child would 
use it to express himself even if he were not taught to do so. Recent 
psychological studies reveal that creativity, the ability to explore and in- 
vestigate, belongs to one of the basic drives, and is a drive without which 
man cannot exist. 

Creative growth starts as soon as the child begins to document himself. 


He may do it by inventing babbling noises, or he may do it by inventing 
his own forms, which he may call "man," "house," or "mountain." It is 
his form, his invention, and thus a creation. From this simple documenta- 
tion of one's self to the most complex forms of creations there are many 
intermediary steps. It is with these steps that creative growth deals. 

In child art creative growth manifests itself in the independent and 
original approach the child shows in his work. A child does not need to 
be skillful in order to be creative. Yet, for any form of creation, a certain 
degree of emotional freedom is necessary because there is no creativity 
without freedom and fearlessness in subject approach and in the use of 
various media. Experimental attitudes are evidences of creative-minded- 
ness. Children who have been inhibited in their creativity by dogma, 
rules, or forces resort to copying or tracing methods. They quickly adapt 
styles of others as a sign of lost confidence in their own original power 
to create. 

The Importance of Materials and Skills 

Even the most skillful child will become discouraged if he tries to ex- 
press himself with wrong or inadequate means. The lower the develop- 
mental stage, the more the child needs guidance in the selection of the 
right material. A more experimental attitude in letting the child find his 
media is important on the upper levels, where the satisfaction from the 
final product becomes more significant. The way in which to guide the 
child in his desires for using a particular material for his expression 
may be approached from two points of view: (1) the general suitability 
of a material for the kind of expression appropriate to the developmental 
stage, and (2) the specific way that the individual uses a material. 

The specific way in which the individual uses materials to express 
his experiences must be considered for each specific child. It is important 
for the teacher to know the intentions of the child before giving him any 
suggestions. If the intentions of the child are contrary to his use of the 
medium, it is obvious that the child needs guidance. If, for instance, a 
child who paints "A Fair" in monochrome colors is unhappy because he 
cannot get the noise expressed, a discussion of what is noise in color could 
follow. Or, if a child who wants to express racing and surrounds every- 
thing by a static outline complains about the lack of movement, he might 
be given the feeling that the outline might restrict movement just as a 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 71 

fenced-in space would restrict movement. Such individual guidance, how- 
ever, must always be of a general character. It is up to the child to apply 
it specifically to his work. 

In the evaluation of the adequacy of an art material both the general 
suitability for the stage of development as well as the specific way in 
which the individual uses a medium must be considered. A tnaterial must 
be an integral part of the creative work^. This means that the use of a 
material or a procedure is never taught by itself, separated from the crea- 
tive work. It is never merely a by-product. It must be a part of the creative 
work. Its perfection grows through the urge for expression. We all know 
of youngsters who can make innumerable slingshots and who will not 
stop until a perfect one has been accomplished. If this drive for perfection 
of a self-chosen object could be used also in the creative skills and tech- 
niques, we would accomplish the desired aim. A youngster does not learn 
how to whittle a stick without having a purpose in mind. But if he whittles 
a stick to make a slingshot, the use of the slingshot and the fun he will 
gain from it provide the drive for perfection. It is not grammar that we 
learn first. There would be no use for it, were it not for the sake of ex- 
pression. Once the desire for expression is awakened, the urge for greater 
meaningfulness will develop the desire for grammar. To find out that a 
sentence might change its meaning through the use of a comma may be 
an exciting experience for a child in whom the urge for expression is 

Learning an art procedure for the procedure's sake would be senseless 
and might even develop in the child an aversion toward it. The best food 
will not taste good if there is no appetite for it; it may even cause indiges- 
tion. The same is true of an imposed technique at all levels of art 
education. The drive for expression must precede the learning of artistic 
method. The more powerful the drive for expression, the greater is 
the urge for technical perfection. Especially on the upper levels this de- 
sire for greater technical perfection must be supported by the teacher. 
This support, however, must always be based on the individual desire of 
the student and determined by his work. There is no formula for drawing 
or modeling a figure; the study of it is intensely personal. There are 
scarcely two individuals who would look for exactly the same things. One 
might want to study shapes and forms, another the anatomical struc- 
ture, a third the expression of it, a fourth might concentrate on movement, 
while a fifth might be interested in the figure as such only secondarily 
but would draw from it the inspiration for an abstract interpretation. The 



Student has to be guided in the direction of his thinking. We find many 
students for whom "almost any definite formula for drawing a figure or 
fastening two pieces of material together is more pleasing than a spon- 
taneous experiment,"^ but this represents only an uncreative escape. This 
type of regimented learning is contrary to any democratic spirit and may 
lead ultimately to a regimented society. Where else should we learn crea- 
tive approaches if not in art education? Yet skills and techniques are 
important, especially in the higher stages of development, where self- 
criticism and critical awareness lead the individual to a greater emphasis 
on the final product. Important as skills and techniques may be, how- 
ever, they must always remain a means to an end and never become the 
end themselves. In a creative technique "the hand cannot be separated 
from the eye and brain. It includes skilled vision, skilled imagination, 
skilled planning, criticism, and concentration of energies. The fault of 
most academic training in art has been that it neglects most of the ele- 
ments necessary for a full technique. It fails even to realize that there is 
such a thing as the technique of artistic perceiving and imagining. It leads 
students too directly and constantly to the final stages of execution and 
expression, with too little attention to the preliminary phases of creative 
thinking. . . . The mental and manual are intimately bound together. 
Perhaps this is the main distinction between the artist and the uncreative 
worker, however skilled the latter may be in a mechanical way. In the 
former, direction of the hands and outer medium is controlled by an inner, 
self-developed aim and vision, whereas the factory machine operator can 
at times almost let his hands work by themselves, without conscious 

Especially in our secondary schools, where compartmentalized teaching 
of subjects prevails to a great extent, we find the same tendency for 
specialization in art education. It must be possible for all children and 
youth to participate in art education. That is only possible if we recog- 
nize the creative potentialities in each individual. 

Grading the Child's Creative Product 

Whenever the main attention is diverted from the child to the product 
he produces, injustice must result both to the child and to his work. A 
child who may have been inhibited and frustrated in his expression, and 
for the first time crudely reveals his experience, may produce a creative 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 73 

product that scarcely shows the importance of this action. For the child 
this may be the first tender beginning of a new Ufe, a hfe in which he 
no longer has to escape into meaningless stereotypes, a life in which he 
can face his own self and freely express it. Yet the beginning is difficult. 
It may just consist of some slight deviation from his former mode of 
expression, scarcely recognizable to the naked eye. Yet for the child this 
first little step is decisive. We would not notice it in his final product 
unless we knew the child and his former mode of expression. By looking 
at the product only, we would not only do injustice to the child but also 
to the significance which the process of self-discovery has for him. By 
comparing his work with the work of others in the same grade, we would 
completely neglect the individual child. 

Grading of creative products, however it is done, is harmful to the 
child because it turns his attention from the creative process to the final 
product. It may add another blow to an inhibited child who for the first 
time has found himself in his creative activity if his work does not com- 
pare with that of others. A poor grade, in addition to his inhibitions, 
indeed would not promote his freedom of expression. 

Unfortunately, in most of our public schools grading is required. If 
rigid numerical grades can be avoided and replaced by descriptive grades, 
it will be of great advantage. In descriptive grades the child's problems 
can at least be revealed. If numerical grades are required, less harm may 
be done by grading the individual's progress rather than by establishing 
classroom standards. Such external standards only deal with the product 
and completely neglect the individual child and the effect the creative 
process had on him. By grading the child's progress, we at least deal with 
the child. By comparing the successive products, we can draw certain 
conclusions as to the child's efforts, the meaningfulness of his experience, 
the organization of it, and the skjll with which he used his media. Even 
then we may punish him for his inhibitions if we do not take into 
account that we deal with human beings and not with products. 

Exhibits and Competitions 


In every healthy classroom situation the child feels a part of the class- 
room spirit. It is obvious, therefore, that he will have a natural desire 
to improve this spirit by his own contribution. This contribution starts 


as soon as the drive to express himself in one or another medium is 
awakened in the child. First, he competes with himself, finding out 
whether he can do better than he has done before. Growth 'is continuous 
competition with one's own standards and achievements. This is the most 
natural and healthy form of competition, especially at a time when the 
child does not approach his environment critically and with awareness. 
The family and the natural classroom situation confront the child with 
competitive experiences that often create difficult problems. The difficulties 
most often arise from the child's inability to conceive of achievements of 
others beyond his own level and to cope with them. If parents and teachers 
do not appreciate the child's own individual contributions on the child's 
own merits, complications such as jealousy or withdrawal from active 
participation may result. In creative expression not only the various stages 
of development differ but also individual modes of expression. Since the 
child's art activities m.erely are a means of expression, and his individual 
mode may difTer greatly from that of his classmate, he often may be 
unable to conceive of and understand these differences. 

The situation changes somewhat when the child grows older and the 
final product becomes more and more significant. For the younger child 
the natural competition in the home and in the classroom often confronts 
him with difficulties beyond his comprehension; for the older child natural 
competition is one of the best characteristics of a good and creative home 
or classroom atmosphere. In the upper grades of the elementary school 
and farther on, the stimulation children receive from each other's creative 
approaches is an invaluable contribution to creative teaching (see Figure 
15). The child is simultaneously exposed to many different "styles" and 
modes of expression, which he now can evaluate in terms of his own 
experiences. Such natural competition that is not based on standards 
creates a most wholesome atmosphere. 


By forced competition we mean the type of competition that does not 
grow from a natural situation but is introduced. Usually in forced compe- 
titions a certain standard must be met and prizes are given as stimulus and 

Since teachers often are confronted with this type of competition, an 
analysis of its educational meaning seems to be important. No doubt 
most of the competitions are sponsored with the best intentions — usually 
to give the child an additional stimulus to use the utmost of his abilities 
and to prepare him for life situations, according to the sponsors, for 

Figure 15. The stimulation children receive from one an- 
other contributes to a creative atmosphere. 

competition also plays an important part in life. Competitions further 
reward him for his eflorts, apparently comparing favorably with life situa- 
tions. Some even say that such preparation is essential, because life is not 
easy and is full of competition. They say that it would be artificial to 
protect the child from the struggle to which sooner or later he will be 
exposed. Finally, it is said that the child should see how his work com- 
pares with that of others. 

Let us try to apply these arguments to the child's situation and the 
meaning of art education. Child art is highly differentiated. It is ex- 
tremely individual. No two children express themselves entirely alike. 
One of the important aims of art education is to bring out the individual 
differences that make up the child's personality. Suppressing them would 
inhibit the child's personality. In order to have all children participate in 



expressing their individual differences creatively, art education emphasizes 
the freeing process of self-expression and not the final product. Any 
competition based on the final product is most harmful to the child since 
it confronts him directly with problems of evaluations of the final product 
which are inconceivable to him. A child who won a high award in one 
of the recent competitions could not recognize his own drawing. This is 
by no means rare. Children quickly change and therefore lose contact 
with their former mode of expression. Another child did not know at 
all why the first had won the prize; neither did the other children in the 
classroom. However, since the child had drawn his award-winning picture 
with the side of the crayon, all children in the classroom drew^with the 
side of the crayon from then on. Thus competition not only directed the 
children's attention to the final product but stimulated them to imitate. 
John Michael, in a study of the effect of prizes, the effect of adult paint- 
ings, and the effect of other children's work, found that each of these 
influences decreased the aesthetic quality of students' work.^^ 

A child does not understand why somebody else's drawing won a prize. 
For him there are no rights and wrongs in creative expression. If some 
standards are imposed upon him, they will only harm his personality, 
since they will suppress his individuality. Since the child does not use 
techniques consciously, an emphasis on the final product may make him 
conscious of techniques and take away his spontaneity. Very often the 
child expresses experiences in his creative products that are not visible 
even to experienced teachers, yet they may be highly significant to the 
child. In competitions the aesthetically beautiful and "original" drawings 
usually receive awards. Original, however, connotes standing out from 
others by means of external qualities. Those children who express them- 
selves sincerely but neither originally nor aesthetically never have a chance 
to receive rewards in competitions. Yet they may be the children for 
whom creative activities are most important, for they need the freeing 
of their personalities most urgently. Competition does not provide such a 
release, since it is based on the final product whereas the child grows 
through the creative process. 

The best preparation for the child's future life is to give him a fair 
chance for a healthy personality. No artifical stimulations— no matter how 
high the rewards are — can replace the sound experience necessary for any 
creative work. 

For the upper levels, that is, when the child becomes more critically 
aware of himself and his environment, the meaning of competition may 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 77 

change somewhat. During puberty the child's attentions grow more 
toward the final product, so it can easily be understood that the result 
of the creative effort assumes greater significance. We must also contend 
with another factor, which completely counteracts this growing signifi- 
cance. With his increasing awareness during puberty, the youth becomes 
more conscious not only of the final product but also of his inability to 
achieve it adequately. We all know that this is the period when most of 
our youth lose confidence in their ability to draw or paint. Yet one of 
the main aims of art education on this level is to preserve creative freedom 
beyond childhood and make art an activity for all. Shall we then continue 
to emphasize the dividing line between those who are "gifted" and those 
who are shaken in their confidence to create? Do we need the added 
stimulus of rewards for the gifted, which harm the ones who have not 
found themselves creatively? 

Competition may be a great incentive — and often also a discourage- 
ment — on the professional level. However, it seems a necessity that has 
not always brought out great genius, as the history of art will demonstrate. 
Nevertheless, exhibitions are one of the few means by which artists can 
reveal themselves to others. If we have especially gifted art students in 
secondary schools, why shouldn't they participate in competitive exhibits? 
Should we concentrate, however, on the few by neglecting the others? 
No jury can take into consideration the meaningfulness of a work to its 
creator. It is this meaningfulness that is most important to the develop- 
ment of a healthy personality, especially at a time when the individual's 
confidence is shaken. 

There is another aspect of competitions that needs to be discussed — 
the time-consuming effort required to prepare for them and the pressure 
exerted to meet a deadline. Some schools seem constantly geared to work 
for competitions. The results are superficiality, stress on techniques, and 
overemphasis on the outcome. All this overpowers any serious attempt 
for self-identification of the youth with his own creative experiences. The 
natural competition that takes place in every good classroom atmosphere 
remains the most healthy type of competition. 


In speaking of exhibits, we mean the showing of works with no com- 
petitive aims. Such exhibits may serve two purposes: (1) to reveal what 
has been done, and (2) to follow a certain educational purpose. Both 
objectives may be of great value. 


Exhibits in classrooms are usually held for the children's sake. The 
child enjoys seeing a display of his own work more than the work of 
others. Which works should be displayed? Should we display them in- 
discriminately, or should a selection be made? From what has been said 
before it is quite obvious that no work should be displayed that does 
not express the child's own experiences. That is why all pattern or copy- 
work should be excluded. If we have to make any further selection, it 
should by no means be made from the viewpoint of adult taste. Often 
the most expressive drawings may not appear beautiful to the adult. All 
child art that expresses the child's own and sincere intentions should be 
displayed. Classroom exhibits should frequently be changed, for the child 
quickly loses the intimate relationship to his own work. It is senseless 
and may even be detrimental to display children's "developments" for 
them, because their feeling for past experiences most often is gone and 
old drawings have become meaningless. For the teacher and the parent 
such displays of developmental series may be highly educational. They 
give the teacher and the parent an excellent means of comparing dif- 
ferent stages in the development of the children, to see the progress, or 
often to detect certain stereotyped repetitions or emotional blocks. Many 
important attributes that cannot be seen in the single work are revealed 
in the sequence of drawings. 

An exhibit for an educational purpose needs careful labeling and the 
purpose should clearly be visible. Every exhibit is a visual organization of 
material. Not enough care can be given to its proper display. An exhibit 
in which too many things are shown is confusing. If the attention is sup- 
posed to be directed toward one piece, the piece should be clearly isolated. 
If a series of pieces belongs together, the sequence should be brought out 
through the display. The educational influence of a well-organized display 
is very great. The way the sign leading to the exhibit is lettered will affect 
the visitor's attitude toward the exhibit. A casual sign with poor lettering 
may immediately put him into a psychological state of nonattentiveness 
and casual reactions. A carefully labeled exhibit will create the feeling of 
orderly thoughts and organization. Above all, the assembly line should 
not take over the exhibits. They should be small, frequent, and meaningful. 

Must a Teacher Produce Creatively.^ 

A work of art as a product of human spirit can be understood only 
when the driving forces that led to its creation are understood. These 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 79 

driving forces vary with the individual and his developmental stage; they 
are determined also by the culture in which the work is produced and the 
medium in which it is created. To motivate the student wisely, it is 
essential for the teacher not only to know these driving forces but to 
identify with the creator and to experience these forces as if they were 
part of his own experiences. The more complex these forces are, the 
more difficult it is for the teacher to understand, analyze, and identify 
with him. It might appear that the more primitive the creative product, 
the easier it is for the teacher to identify with the creator. This is not 
quite so, however, for primitiveness may be more remote from our think- 
ing than is a generally accepted art expression. The two main sources of 
difficulty for a teacher in this process of self-identification with the creator 
are a discrepancy bettveen his otun tvay of thinking and experiencing and 
that of his pupils on the one hand and a lac\ of skill in thin\ing and 
creating in the different media on the other hand. The first is a matter 
of psychological understanding and insight, the latter is of a purely 
artistic nature. 


In teaching situations the psychological insight and the ability to think 
in terms of different media cannot be separated. However, both attri- 
butes will vary in significance during different stages in human develop- 
ment. During childhood — that is, during the stage in which the child 
creates in an unaware, unconscious fashion — the handling of material, 
the thinking and creating in terms of different media, is done with- 
out premeditation. Thus, any influence by the teacher on the use of 
materials would only interfere with the child's individual approach. 
Thinking in terms of media is important for the understanding of 
artistic processes, but it is the psychological insight of the teacher that 
is of utmost significance for the young child and his creative activity. A 
child who cannot express himself freely will not gain freedom in his crea- 
tive expression merely through technical aids. Since the young child is 
totally unaware of technical procedures, his inability to express himself is 
usually a sign of inhibitions or lack of self-confidence. It is this inter- 
ference with the child's creative activity through giving technical advice 
that so often characterizes the instruction of artists or teachers who think 
for themselves in terms of creative use of media and who do not have 
the psychological insight necessary for properly motivating the child. If a 
child lacks confidence in expressing himself freely, the only way to re- 
move his inhibitions is to find their cause. Usually this lies in the inability 


to establish a relationship between experiences and representation. If a 
child says, "I can't draw myself throwing a ball," an encouragement of 
technique in terms of drawing materials will not help him to establish 
more confidence. On the contrary, it may even widen the gap between 
his experience and the inability to express it. What the child needs is a 
boost in his experience. "Show me how you throw a ball. What did you 
do with your arms, your legs? Let's try it again. Now you threw it up 
high. What did you do with your hands? Where did you look?" and 
so on. Such questions will establish the child's confidence in relationship 
to his experience and will finally create the urge in him to express him- 
self. The "mastery" of a medium is only a result of the need for expres- 
sion. It is therefore of major importance to learn the child's needs. If 
these needs are understood, motivation becomes a simple procedure for 
the teacher. 

Can the elementary school teacher profit through his own artistic 
achievements? Yes, by all means, for producing creatively is to a very 
great extent a matter of identification with the expressed experience. In 
fact, as it was discussed in the section on self-identification, no creative 
expression is possible without identification of the creator with his work. 
It is this ability of identification that the teacher has to use when properly 
motivating the child; with the young child this can be best achieved 
through psychological insight without direct reference to skills. 

As the child grows, the final creative product becomes increasingly sig- 
nificant to him. With the shift from the emphasis on the working process 
to the final product, thinking in terms of art materials becomes a part of 
the creative process. It then becomes impossible for a teacher who has 
never gone through the experience of creating in a specific medium to 
understand the significance of thinking in terms of that medium, whether 
it is wood, clay, pencil, paint, plastic, or crayon. Nor will the study or the 
manipulation of design elements such as line, space, color, lights, darks, 
and textures be enough. The real experience with them is what counts. 
A teacher who has never experienced the qualities of wood — its grain and 
texture, its elasticity, its characteristics of splintering — will never be able 
to motivate and inspire the youth who has failed to solve a poorly con- 
ceived problem in working with wood. To think in terms of the material 
is an important part of the creative process, especially during the adolescent 
years, when the unity of concept, material, function, and purpose helps 
to encourage the youth in his desire to achieve a final product he can 
appreciate. If this final product does not grow out of organized thinking, 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 81 

a thinking in which medium and expression are unified, the result will 
express a chaos in which the medium fights the concept, in which ma- 
terials have ceased to be a part of creative expression. It is understood, of 
course, that every teacher does not have to be practiced in all media 
in order to think creatively in terms of materials. It is rather the intense 
experience accompanying any creative occupation that is important for 
keeping alive the teacher's appreciation and understanding of creative 
experiences of the students. 


Both the mental act of self-identification with the intentions of the 
creator and the ability to think in terms of the medium in which his 
intentions are to be expressed are important prerequisites for good motiva- 
tion in art teaching. To speak of an extreme case, a person who has been 
blind from birth could never be motivated in his desire for creative ex- 
pression by referring to color, perspective, and other visual concepts. 
Color and visual perspective would be inconceivable to him. Being forced 
to express himself in these mediums would only be frustrating to him. A 
teacher who identifies with the intentions of his blind students would 
never do this. Although such extreme cases are rarely found in the average 
classroom, the principles involved in knowing the needs of the individual 
to be motivated are the same. Just as we would frustrate an individual 
who wants to express his inward feeling of a subjective relationship to 
his experiences by asking him to express merely visual relationships of 
objects in space, so a visually minded student would feel lost if he had 
to express himself subjectively or abstractly. While the first fact is be- 
coming generally understood by teachers, there is a great danger in our 
progressive art schools that a modern standard is being created that ex- 
cludes the visually minded individual from creative participation. Any 
rigid standard puts an end to creative production. The sincere desire of 
the teacher to identify with the creative intentions of his pupils will pre- 
vent him from adhering to such rigid principles, and his own experimen- 
tation in creative media may help him to refrain from setting up 
specific standards of "rightness." 


There is still another important factor that makes creative activity 
necessary to a good art teacher. A work of art is not the representation 
of the thing; it is rather the representation of the experiences we have 


with the thing. These experiences change with our subjective relation to 
the environment as well as with the materials through which these rela- 
tionships are expressed. This holds true for the design and execution of a 
chair as well as for the design and execution of a picture. Any form of 
art expression is therefore a dynamic, ever-changing process. It is this 
changing process that is of greatest educational significance, for through 
it the individual's mind remains flexible and adjustable. This is important 
not only for the student but even more so for the teacher, who needs 
this flexibility both to understand and motivate the individual and to be 
able to shift and adapt his thinking from individual to individual. 

From what has been said, it is evident that the emphasis in this dis- 
cussion is on the creative process and not on the final product. That the 
teacher of art sincerely experiments with the creative media in finding 
his own expression is, therefore, more significant for him than the final 
product he achieves. The most primitive and sincere outcome will be of 
greater value for his teaching than a brilliant technical performance that 
lacks the self-identification which is so vital a part of sound creative 

The Teacher's Need for Knowing 
Developmental Stages 

As has been pointed out, the need for properly stimulating the child 
derives from the basic psychological connection between the child's emo- 
tional experience, his mental level, and his creative expression. It is this 
psychological connection that we have to study. Since subject matter in 
creative activity has such a different meaning from that in other fields, a 
thorough clarification of the relation between developmental stages and 
subject matter is necessary. In arithmetic, for instance, only a gradual in- 
crease in the difficulty and amount of subject matter will allow the child 
to grasp it properly. According to the child's mental development the 
amount and difficulty of subject matter is thoroughly balanced. The child 
starts by learning the single symbols for numbers. Then he learns to count, 
to add, to subtract, to multiply, and so forth. 

How does subject matter relate to artistic expression and how is subject 
matter in creative activity related to the mental stages of the child? Be- 
fore answering these important questions, it is necessary to clarify the 
meaning of subject matter in creative activity. 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 83 

Whereas subject matter in other fields is almost exclusively related to 
content, in artistic expression it is quite different. The content, what we 
represent, is trees, houses, plants, flowers, men, and so forth. In creative 
activity there is no changing subject matter that must be taught, because 
the same subject matter is used in all the various age levels. There is no 
orderly sequence of subject matter, as in arithmetic or other fields. A man 
can be drawn by a five-year-old child or by a sixteen-year-old youth. What, 
then, can be expected to be the difference in teaching a five-year-old child 
or a sixteen-year-old youth? The difference in teaching arithmetic is 
evident. There, the child may first learn to distinguish between one and 
two and later he will study the higher forms of mathematics. Subject 
matter in creative art, as stated above, does not change during the dif- 
ferent age levels. It is determined by "man and environment" through- 
out elementary school levels and beyond. Man and environment do not 
change. What changes is our subjective relationship tvith tJian and 
environment. It is this subjective relation between the world and ourselves 
that has to be studied in order to know how to stimulate a child properly 
according to his age level. A man to a five-year-old child means mainly 
the self, the ego, which needs a head for thinking and eating and two legs 
for running (head-feet representation). For a ten-year-old child a man still 
means mainly a projection of the self. However, consciously aware of the 
variety of man's actions, movements, and body parts, the ten-year-old 
represents man accordingly. A sixteen-year-old youth, however, has al- 
ready discovered that man is a part of environment, and he represents 
man with conscious consideration of size and proportions in comparison 
to what surrounds him. 

A tree also changes — for a five-year-old child the tree is something un- 
differentiated, a trunk and something indefinite on top; for a ten-year-old 
the tree is a trunk with branches to climb on; and for a sixteen-year-old 
youngster a tree is part of the environment, with which he is acquainted 
in detail. The subjective relation of these young people to the tree has 
changed entirely though it is still the same tree, the same subject matter. 
Thus it would be entirely wrong to teach how to draw a tree or a man. 
Moreover, it would be beyond the comprehension of a five-year-old child 
to perceive or understand a tree in all its details as a part of environment. 
He would not even be able to take in an explanation of the naturalistic 
meaning of a tree. Accordingly, a "perfect" drawing of a tree with all its 
details would be entirely out of place. "Perfect" is a relative value judg- 
ment, and in creative activity it means perfect in relation to the child's 


experience, "Perfect" for a five-year-old child is a representative symbol 
for tree. It would be unnatural if the child drew it naturalistically with 
all details. Hence, it is clear that subject matter must be confined more 
to the how than to the what. In creative activity subject matter is based 
upon the subjective experience of man and environment according to the 
various mental levels. A proper application of subject matter in creative 
activity requires the study of the change of the subjective relation of the 
child to man and environment throughout the mental levels. There is no 
subject matter tree, only the different ways a tree is experienced in the 
various years of life. However, since there are so many possible ways of 
drawing a tree in each school grade and since besides trees there are an 
almost unlimited number of things in the environment, it will be neces- 
sary to investigate the common base of children's experiences. This 
investigation will lead to the understanding of all various forms of ex- 
pression used in their representations. 

The answer to the question "What makes the child express one and 
the same' thing differently at different mental levels" will be of essential 
importance for the understanding of the child's creative work. It also will 
be significant for the nature of motivation on the part of the teacher. 
What makes a child of four or five years express a man by drawing only 
a head and two legs? Does this really represent the child's knowledge of 
a human being? Certainly every four- or five-year-old child knows that 
we have fingernails if his attention is directed toward them. But no 
average child of this age would ever draw such details. What the child 
draws is his subjective experience of what is ityiportant to him during 
the act of drawing. Therefore, the child only draws what is actively in 
his mind. Thus in such a drawing of a man we get only a report of the 
active \nowledge the child has of a man while he is drawing. In other 
words, the drawing gives us an excellent record of the things that are of 
especial mental or emotional importance to the child. 

Still another factor has to be taken into consideration as an important 
means for the proper stimulation of a child's creative activity. The change 
of the child's relationship to environment involves emotional as well as 
mental growth. This is one of the most important facts in the child's 
emotional and social adjustment. The child, depending upon the help 
and care of others (at the beginning oh the parents), does not feel the 
necessity of cooperating or collaborating with others. His most important 
experience is the experience of the self. That is why his spatial correlations 
are very indefinite in the beginning. The growing interdependence be- 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 85 

tween the child and his environment is expressed in his drawings. I£ in 
this emotional experience the experience of perceiving environment sen- 
sually (bodily, kinesthetically, or visually) is included, the investigation 
of the child's relationship to what surrounds him is placed on a broader 
base. This investigation still lacks an important part if size, dimensions, 
distance, and relative proportions of the self to environment are not also 
included. The differences in the concept of size and distance of children 
and adults point clearly to the psychological importance of these questions. 
Distances and sizes that appeared large in childhood appear different to 
the adult. But since these psychological questions of the child's relation- 
ship to outside experiences can scarcely come under the heading "environ- 
ment," all these experiences are put together under "space" — experiences 
in space or of space. To simplify matters, all experiences that refer to 
things outside our body tvill be regarded as experiences of space. 

As a result of this discussion, it can be understood why no proper 
stimulation of the child's creative activity can be given without a thorough 
knowledge of what changes may be expected, at the various develop- 
mental stages in the child's subjective relation to man and environment. 

Classroom Procedures 

Art is not a subject where there are specific answers, for here the 
teacher does not have the book with the right solution to every problem 
on her desk. In the usual academic subjects the teacher and the books are 
the authority. There may be many approaches to teaching academic sub- 
ject matter, but the correct response to a multiplication problem, the exact 
date of some exploration, or the proper spelling of a particular word are 
all known by the teacher. In the area of artistic expression, however, the 
teacher neither knows nor is looking for right answers. Classroom pro- 
cedures will be focused upon encouraging thinking, feeling, and per- 
ceiving for each child in his own very personal way. A teacher's function 
becomes one of developing children's self-discovery and stimulating a_ 
depth of expression. 

The atmosphere that is conducive to artistic expression, the environ- 
ment that will foster inventiveness and exploration, is not the same type 
of atmosphere that is favorable for memorizing arithmetic tables. In the 
latter activity the student must concentrate on areas outside himself; he 
is dependent upon the teacher for recognition of his efforts and he, 


Figure 16. A warm, friendly teacher motivates and 
supports individual creative expression. 

along with the rest of his classmates, must deny giving vent to his own 
feelings. Creative expression is the direct opposite of memorization. Where 
individual inventiveness, expression, and independence of thinking are 
crucial, an entirely different classroom atmosphere needs to be established. 
A teacher who wants to foster individual expression in the classroom, 
who wants to encourage initiative and spontaneity, and who wants to have 
children motivated to produce freely will have to accept and reward 
creative behavior. Usually good behavior is thought to be synonymous 
with being quiet, polite, and retiring. Good behavior is too often con- 
sidered the opposite of creative behavior, where a child may be full of 
curiosity, poke fun at himself and others, question the teacher's direction, 
and have original ideas of his own. Studies have shown that the creative 
child is usually not liked as well as he might be by his teachers.^" Yet the 
child who looks upon learning as a self-initiated activity is the type of 
student we are trying to encourage, because he does the type of thinking 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 87 

that is so necessary in our society. This by no means should indicate that 
creativity and chaos go hand in hand. In fact, the very opposite may be 
true. Children who are personally involved in an activity may be oblivious 
to those around them and are not easily distracted. Certainly one of the 
first and foremost requirements for the development of an atmosphere 
conducive to artistic expression is the teacher's wholehearted support and 
belief in the necessity for such activities. Secondly, the teacher must pro- 
vide the stimulation for individual thinking and remove any dependency 
upon himself as having the "right" answers. Third, the teacher needs to 
be warm and friendly (see Figure 16), for it has been found that pupils 
produce more work under warmth and friendliness than under aggres- 
siveness or domination. ^^ 

If we look through the history of art, we find that those artists who are 
recognized as being great are often the ones who made changes in the 
accepted art of their times. Art has in the past, and must in the future, 
be considered an important force in developing creative thinking. The 
recent interest in the development of creativity in school children should 
give added support to the teacher for including a great variety of art 
activities within the school program. The development of artistic ability 
and the development of creative thin\ing shoidd he thought of as one 
and the same. 

There is some danger in encouraging students to think for themselves. 
But this danger exists only for the teacher who feels insecure within him- 
self. An art class is often confusing to the outsider anyway, because of 
the problem of having numerous materials distributed and picked up. 
There is a great deal of responsibility assumed by children themselves 
in the handling of these materials, when what they are doing is important 
to them. In a teacher-dominated art lesson, these art materials may be 
looked upon as being a means of escape from the regimentation of folding 
paper just so or cutting the proper distance; the opportunity to drop the 
scissors or fold the paper into an airplane is too great a temptation for 
the creative child. If the project is developed through the child's own in- 
terest, even the folding of airplanes can become a creative undertaking: 
changes in the design of the folded paper, the adding of a paper clip to the 
nose, and the trying out of the folded airplane for greater distance in the 
hall can channel the energies and independent thinking of the creative 
child into a constructive artistic project. Frustrations that may come out 
in behavior behind the teacher's back can be channeled into art activities. 
Specific suggestions for motivating children to express the feelings and 

Figure 17. Art expression thrives in a relaxed classroom. 

emotions that may lie just beneath the surface will be included in the 
study of various developmental stages. 

It goes without saying that the art program of a school will tend to be 
disruptive (see Figure 17) to the neat, orderly, quiet concept that many 
look upon as the ideal classroom setting. The art program should pro- 
vide the stimulation for independent thinking and should encourage and 
reward curiosity, spontaneous thinking, and self-expression. This is es- 
pecially important for those children who tend to be noncreative in their 
classroom behavior. Those children who have a good deal of energy and 
are freer in their responses need to have these energies channeled into 
artistic expression. Providing encouragement for creative behavior and 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 89 

rewarding independent thinking can go a long way toward developing an 
atmosphere of creativity. 


Certain mechanical, routine methods of handling art materials make 
the art program much more effective. Children at all levels can take a 
great deal of responsibility for their own art materials. Occasionally a 
teacher will become so involved with the distribution and cleaning up 
process that he has little time to stimulate the children to a depth of 
expression. Having children take over some of this responsibility not only 
frees the teacher from the routine of passing out paper, distributing scis- 
sors, cleaning up paint brushes, but it also provides an opportunity for 
children to become more aware of an art activity as a total experience 
that is primarily theirs. A violin virtuoso handles his violin like something 
sacred not only because it is of material value but because it is the means 
by which he can express himself. A true artist develops a kinship to ma- 
terials, and some of these feelings can certainly be developed within 

Some materials should be placed where children can obtain them freely. 
Spontaneous drawing or painting should be encouraged, and the paper, 
crayons, or paints should be readily accessible not only for the kinder- 
garten child but for all children through secondary school. The older 
child should be able to gather and put back materials without supervision. 
Although art materials in daily use should be left within easy reach of 
children, certain materials should be stored out of sight. These are not 
necessarily the expensive materials but rather those that can have special 
meaning at special times (styrofoam balls for mobiles, shiny paper for 
Christmas decorations) and those that are potentially dangerous (large 
glass jars, thin strands of wire, sets of cutting knives). 

In no instance should the lack of materials stand in the way of a good 
art program. This is not to say that such basic materials as clay, tempera 
paint, and paper can be dispensed with. What is meant is that adding 
sheets of copper foil, gummed paper, clay glazes, and cans of spray paint 
do not in themselves insure a good art program. Often children can 
provide many inexpensive or free materials, such as old newspapers for 
making papier-mache, cloth for making collages or banners, boxes for 
making animals or dragons, and of course bottle caps and straws for mak- 
ing decorations. The art materials are important to an art program, but 
they play a secondary role; the materials are not as important as the way in 


which they are used. Since children of each developmental level have 
different needs, and also have different capacities for using various 
media, specific suggestions for art materials will be included in each 

One of the most precious parts in any art motivation is the moment of 
tension before the transition into expression. If this gets lost, we lose an 
important part of the creative atmosphere. How awful for a child who is 
stimulated in terms of shopping in the grocery store, and who is eager to 
portray his feelings about the canned goods stacked way above his head, 
the smell of the oranges, or the excitement about picking out his favorite 
cookies, to have to wait for six children in front of him to pass the paper 
back before he can get started. The materials should be ready for im- 
mediate use once the child is ready for them. Sometimes if the material 
would be a distraction, children can be gathered in a circle in a different 
part of the room for a discussion. 

Although children should be given the feeling for the quality and 
wealth "buried" in every bit of material, no undue concern should be 
shown if the child uses this material in unexpected ways. If a second 
grader crumples his sheet of paper, do not condemn him to inactivity. A 
question like "Didn't you like that piece of paper?" may be better than 
trying to condemn his actions, and the child himself may not be able to 
understand why he felt like crumpling paper. A material like clay might 
be more appropriate, for it can be twisted and crushed without destroying 
the material itself. Every material should be thought of as meeting the 
needs of children and not as dictating a particular type of art lesson. 

Related Activities 

1. Observe the changes that take place in art expression by collecting drawings 
from children from kindergarten through high school age. Trace the 
development of the representation of a single object, such as a tree. Notice 
how the subject matter (child's portrayal of his reaction to the environment) 
does not change, but the manner of representation changes as the child 

2. Observe in a classroom those children who look around, ask questions, and 
are easily distracted. Compare their products with those of children who 
are personally involved in portraying their experiences, noting stereotypes, 
simple objective reports, some inclusion of the self, complete self-identifica- 
tion with the product. 

3. Collect the drawings from an elementary school class. Ask a teacher, an art 
teacher, a college student, and a child to grade these drawings, as for a 

The Meaning of Art in the Classroom 91 

report card. Ask how these judges determined the best and poorest. How 
do the various ratings compare? Which, if any, seems to be the most valid 
approach? How does this compare with the discussion in the section 
"Grading the Child's Creative Product"? 

4. Plan and display an exhibit of children's art work with a definite purpose. 
Organize the exhibit so that it presents a feeling of unity. Identify and 
label the specific age, grade level, medium, and subject matter or motivation. 

5. Make a survey to determine what competitions are presently being sponsored 
in a local school in music, art, and so forth. Gather information from 
teachers and students and discuss the efifects of these competitions upon the 
classroom behavior, the time consumed, and the results of the competitions. 

6. Observe an elementary class for several sessions and list the number of 
opportunities for developing divergent thinking. Compare this with the 
number of times thinking is directed toward one "right" answer. Discuss 
the role of art in stimulating divergent thinking. 

7. Collect drawings from a kindergarten class and list the various methods 
of portrayal of sensory experiences. Check especially for symbols for sounds 
and movements. 


1. See also Margaret Naumburg, "Studies of Free Art Expression of Behavior 

Problem Children and Adolescents As a Means of Diagnosis and 
Therapy," {Nervous and Mental Disease Monographs, No. 71 [New 
York: Coolidge Foundation, 1947]). 

2. See also Edward Mattil, "A Study to Determine the Relationship Between 

the Creative Products of Children and Their Adjustment" (Unpublished 
doctoral dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University, 1953). 

3. Florence Goodenough, Draw a Man Test (Worcester, Mass.: Clark Uni- 

versity Press, 1931). 

4. Calvin Countryman, "A Test on the Visualization of Tactile Sensations" 

(Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University, 

5. See Herbert Read, Education Through Art (London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 

1943), pp. 274, 275. 

6. Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth, Conference 

Findings (Washington: G.P.O., 1950). 

7. Edward Mattil, "A Study to Determine the Relationship Between the 

Creative Products of Children and Their Adjustment" (Unpublished 
doctoral dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University, 1953). 

8. Read, op. cit., p, 7. 


9. Thomas Munro, "Creative Ability in Art and Its Educational Fostering," 
The Fortieth Yearbook^ of the National Society for the Study of Education 
(Bloomington, 111.: Public School Publishing Co., 1941), pp. 289-322. 

10. Munro, op. cit., pp. 315-316. 

11. John Michael, "The Effect of Award, Adult Standard, and Peer Standard 

Upon Creativeness in Art of High School Pupils," Research in Art 
Education, Ninth Yearbook (Kutztown, Pa.: National Art Education 
Association, 1959), pp. 98-104. 

12. Jacob W. Getzels and Philip W. Jackson, Creativity and Intelligence (New 

York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1962). 

13. W. Lambert Brittain, "How Should an Art Teacher Behave.''" The Art 

Education Bulletin, XIX, No. 4 (Apr. 1962), pp. 30-34. 


Beginnings of Self-expression: 

The Scribbling Stage, 
Two to Four Years 

The Importance of Scribbling 

The first drawing attempts of a child can be extremely important not only 
to the child himself as his first expressive symbol but also to the sensitive 
and aware adult who sees in these marks an individual's early efforts to 
express himself. It may be that these first marks and the way in which 
they are received by the adult world will have great importance to the 
child's continued growth. Adults usually pay little attention to children's 
early art attempts. The very word scribble may suggest a waste of time 
or at least a lack of content. In actuality the very opposite is true. 

In order to understand the meaning of scribbling, it is necessary to 
know the significance of kinesthetic experiences in early infancy. These 
motions and movements that relate to the body can be either passive or 



active. The passive kinesthetic experiences are those in which the body is 
moved without engaging actively in movement, such as when the baby 
is rocked or is wheeled about in a carriage. The active kinesthetic experi- 
ences are those which the child originates, such as moving his arms or 
kicking his legs. These active and passive kinesthetic experiences have a 
strong influence as the baby develops; his body is very important in ex- 
ploring, investigating, and in reacting to his surroundings. 

At some point, usually at about two years of age, the child given a 
crayon will start to make marks on a piece of paper. Although scribbling 
may start earlier than this, a very young child will find a crayon more 
interesting to look at, feel, or taste. The first scribbles will be random 
marks; the child may even be looking elsewhere as he scribbles. Out of 
this he gains great satisfaction, for here he engages in an active kinesthetic 
experience, one of the first that allows a child to express himself outside 
of crying. All children in the wofld begin with scribbling, whether they 
are Chinese or Eskimos, Americans or Europeans, whether they have 
dark skin or light. So we can say that scribbling is a natural part of the 
total development of children and as such reflects their total physiological 
and psychological growth. 

The average child, then, begins scribbling at about two years of age, 
although some children may start as early as eighteen months. These 
first marks are usually a haphazard array of lines; we can refer to this as 
the stage of disorderly scribbling. The crayon may be held upside down, 
or sideways, or be grasped with the fist, or even be held between clenched 
fingers. The child may be fascinated with this scribbling and get obvious 
enjoyment from it. However, he does not attempt to make any visual 
images with his marks but instead enjoys these motions as a kinesthetic 

The range and variety of scribbles is very great. Since the child is not 
trying to portray some visual object, the scribbles relate quite direcdy 
to the child's own development. It is fairly obvious that the only source 
of these scribbles is the child himself. The importance of understanding 
scribbles has been largely overlooked, although recently some work has 
been done in this area.-^ Parents may try to find something in the scribbling 
that they can recognize, or even attempt to draw something for the child 
to copy. At this point, drawing something "real" is inconceivable to the 
child. Such attempts would be similar to trying to teach a babbling baby 
to pronounce words correctly or to use them in sentences. Rarely would 
a parent ask a babbUng child to repeat the Gettysburg Address, even 

Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 95 

though this may become important to a child when he reaches fifth 
grade. The stick figure or the apple drawn by an encouraging parent can 
be just as ridiculous. Such imposed ideas are far beyond the abilities of 
the child at this developmental stage and may be harmful to his future 
development. Thus it is clear that no child should ever be interrupted in 
his scribbling. 

Since the child at this age has no visual control over his scribbling, 
parents (and teachers, too) should regard this as an indication that the 
child is not yet ready to perform tasks that require such control over his 
movements. He is going to be a sloppy eater, is going to have trouble with 
his buttons, and will not be able to follow visual directions. As long as 
the child has not yet reached the stage of scribbling where he has es- 
tablished visual control over his motions, it is both senseless and harmful 
to impose activities requiring such control. 

General Development of Scribbling 


During the very early stages of scribbling the marks on the paper can 
go in many directions (see Figure 18). A lot depends upon whether the 
child is drawing on the floor or is standing and drawing on a low table. 
The way the crayon is held will also influence the type of marks that are 
put down. It is important to realize that the size of the motions shown on 
the paper is relative to the size of the child. If an adult swung his arm 
back and forth, he would cover an arc of about three feet; a child would 
tend to draw an arc only about twelve inches long. Since scribblers have 
not yet developed fine muscle control, usually only the larger sweeps will 
be repeated. We have to remember that the child scribbles with what are 
big motions for him, although to an adult the result may appear to be 
only a small drawing. 


At some point a child will discover that there is a connection between 
his motions and the marks on the paper. This may occur about six months 
or so after the child has started to scribble. This is a very important step, 
because now the child has discovered a visual control over the marks he 
is making. Although there is no difference in terms of the adult's casual 
inspection of these drawings, gaining control over his motions is a vital 

Figure 18. This disordered scribble was made by a 
Iwo-and-a-half-year-old cliild. 

experience for the child. Now he experiences visually what he has done 

Most children approach scribbling at this stage with a great deal of 
enthusiasm, since this coordination between their visual and motor de- 
velopment is a very important achievement. Enjoyment of this new dis- 
covery stimulates the child to vary his motions. Repeated motions may 
indicate the establishment of control over certain motor movements. Lines 

Figures 19 (above) and 20 (below). These are con- 
trolled scribbles by three-year-old children. 

Figures 21 (above), 22 
(right), and 23 (below). 

Scribbling is a serious, 
meaningful activity for 
young children. 


Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 99 

can be drawn horizontally, vertically, and in circles (see Figures 19 and 
20). Rarely do we find dots or small repeated patterns, because this means 
the child has to take his crayon off the page. Children can become very 
engrossed in this scribbling, sometimes with their noses practically glued 
to the paper (see Figures 21, 22, and 23). 

We also find this new control having an effect upon the rest of the 
child's environment. The harried mother who six months earlier could 
not get the child to button his jacket now finds the same child insisting 
that he do it for himself. The child will understand and enjoy the practice 
of this newly won ability. Since motor coordination is one of the child's 
most important achievements, we can readily understand that any dis- 
couragement of scribbling at this stage could cause inhibitions. The child 
has no creative intentions other than to move his crayon over the paper. 
All his enjoyment is drawn from the kinesthetic sensation and its 


This next step is a very important one in the development of the child. 
This is the stage when the child one day starts to name his scribbling. He 
may say, "This is Daddy," or, "I am running," although neither Daddy 
nor himself can be seen. This naming of scribbling is of the highest 
significance, for it is an indication that the child's thinking has changed 
(see Figure 24). Before this stage he was satisfied with the motions 
themselves, but now he has connected his motions to the world around 
him. He has changed from a kinesthetic thinking in terms of motions to 
an imaginative thinking in terms of pictures. The importance of this 
change can best be understood if we realize that as adults most of our 
thinking is done in terms of mental pictures. If we try to think back in 
our own memory as far as we can, our memory will carry us no further 
than the naming of scribbling stage. Therefore, when the child begins 
to think in terms of mental pictures, usually at about three and a half 
years of age, he has developed a basis for visual retention. 

The drawings themselves have not changed remarkably from earlier 
scribbles. Although the child may start drawing with some mental picture, 
he is also affected by what he has drawn. So, as the child makes marks 
on the page, these marks may have a visual reference for him, and this 
in turn affects the drawings. 

Some of the circular motions and longitudinal lines may now seem to 
tie together to make a person in a child's drawing, but adults should not 
try to find a visual reality there or try to read into scribbles their own 

Figure 24. A four-year-old's drawing, which he 
called "Mother Goes Shopping," indicates that he 
is in the naming-of-scribbling stage. 

interpretations of what the child was trying to draw. Most children are 
eager to show their picture of "Daddy" without interference. There may 
be real danger in parents' or teachers' pushing a child to find some name 
or excuse for what he has drawn. Rather, when this important stage in 
the mental growth of the child develops, we expect teachers to give con- 
fidence and encouragement in this new kind of thinking. 

The Meaning of Color 

The experience of scribbling, then, is mainly one of motor activity. At 
first satisfaction is derived from the experience of kinesthetic motions, 
next from a visual control of these lines, and finally from the relationship 
of these lines to the outside world. Color, therefore, plays a decidedly sub- 
ordinate role in the scribbling stage. This is particularly true in the first 
two levels when the child is establishing motor coordination. The choice 
of many colors, in fact, can sometimes divert the child from scribbling to 
the activity of playing with the colors. However, it is of great importance 
that the child be able to distinguish his marks from the rest of the page. 
Therefore, a strong contrast is important in the selection of the drawing 
materials. Black crayon on white paper or white chalk on a blackboard 
is much preferred over some colors that may not give this contrast. 

The scribbling stages tend to last for a longer time when the child 
uses paint. This may be caused by the lack of control over a brush rather 
than by the color of the paint itself. We find this when the paint is too 
thin, and the child becomes confused with the running paint. This can 
be especially true when the painting is done at an easel, instead of flat on 
the floor or on a low table. A child who is attracted by color and finds 
that his marks on the paper are running together may have a fine time 
splashing his paint. Although this may release tensions, and therefore 
may be of some value, it should not become a habit and so stand in the 
way of the normal development of creative expression. 

Changes in color can sometimes be significant in the naming of scrib- 
bling level, for here colors may have some meaning for the child. Colors 
can also be fun for the child to work with and to explore occasionally. 
However, it is of greater importance in the scribbling stages that the child 
first be given the opportunity to create lines and forms, to develop mastery 
of his coordination, and to begin his first pictorial relationships of his 

Art Motivation 

Usually in the first stages of scribbling no special motivation is needed 
except to provide the child with the proper materials and the encourage- 
ment to go ahead with the activity. Most children will eagerly cover two 
or three sheets of paper with scribbles. Do not expect the very young child 
to continue at this activity for more than a few minutes. The child of 


three may be involved for as long as fifteen minutes. The four-year-old 
child, if he has arrived at the naming of scribbling stage, or if he has been 
introduced to a new material, may keep at this activity for twenty to thirty 
minutes. However, no clock should dictate the length of time a child may 
spend in expressing himself on paper. 

Scribbling should not be interfered with. Sometimes a nursery school 
teacher will see a child painting a picture that accidentally turns out to look 
quite like a piece of modern art. It is a great temptation to stop the 
child at this point and "save the picture". However, the child will not 
understand this interruption to his scribbling. The child himself should 
decide when a picture is completed. We have already mentioned the in- 
hibiting effect of trying to see some representation in scribbles, for this 
may interrupt the normal growth of the child's motor activities at a time 
when he is developing visual control over his movements. 

Occasionally one finds a child who seems to be afraid of scribbling. 
Certainly a parent or teacher should encourage this important develop- 
niental activity. There may be several reasons for this hesitancy to engage 
in a creative activity, from being told No by the parents when he has 
started to scribble in the past to a more deep-seated problem of anxiety or 
fear in a particular situation. Establishing mutual trust is important, and 
making the scribbling a tempting activity is sometimes necessary. "If you 
were in a large empty room, would you just stand in the corner? Or 
would it be fun to run all around the room ? Do you think you would go 
out into the middle of the room and just sit? How do you suppose the 
crayon would feel if he had this large piece of paper to run in? Would he 
just stay down in one little corner? Show me how you think the crayon 
would behave in this large white space," Most children would scribble 
quite eagerly after such a motivation. 

After a child has named his scribbling, we have, as mentioned earlier, 
a definite clue as to his thinking. This new direction, the relationship of 
his scribbles to the environment, should be stimulated. We are not talking 
about improving drawings now, for the drawings themselves do not look 
much different from earlier scribbles. We can, however, stimulate the 
child's thinking in the direction he has already indicated. For example, 
when the child says, "This is Daddy," it is possible to stimulate a greater 
awareness of Daddy. "Is your Daddy tall? Does he have big feet? Does 
he ever lift you up? Did you ever feel his whiskers? Do you like your 
Daddy?" The purpose here is to encourage imaginative thinking. We 
will be perfectly satisfied with the motions that are made on the paper, 

Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 103 

although they may not be recognizable to adults; additional lines may 
indeed give a feeling for lifting or texture of whiskers, or even be symbolic 
of being held. The inclusion of many senses is important. If the child says 
he is going shopping, such things as smells, sounds, personal involve- 
ment, the child's own part in the shopping experience, his likes and dis- 
likes for this activity, can all be included in the stimulation. But the child 
should also feel free to ignore these comments and be satisfied with just 
the relationship between his scribble and his imaginative thinking. 
During the very first stages of scribbling no particular motivation is 

Figure 25. Fairly thick tempera paint is an ex- 
cellent material for use with this age group. 


necessary, whereas any topic the child suggests during the last stage of 
scribbling is suitable to extend his thinking process. Most important in all 
stages is the adult's understanding and encouragement. 

Art Materials 

Any art material used with children must fit their needs. Since during 
scribbling the child needs to practice and experience kinesthetic sensa- 
tions, the materials used should encourage free expression without the 
intrusion of technical diihculties. Water color, for example, is a very poor 
medium at this age because the colors tend to run and flow easily. The 
child is unable to gain control over his motions or to follow his motions 
on the paper and is therefore discouraged by the material. The usual type 
of pencil is also unsuitable for the scribbling child because sharp points 
prevent gliding along the paper, and of course the points break easily. 
There are numerous art materials that do lend themselves to the needs of 
the child at this stage. A big black unwrapped crayon is excellent and 
easily obtained. However, white chalk on a blackboard, or a felt pen with 
black ink, are also excellent materials. Any art material should facilitate 
expression rather than be a stumbling block, and at this age the need to 
control kinesthetic motions should be uppermost. 

Because of some adults' feeling toward scribbling, we sometimes find 
that old newspapers, the back of wallpaper samples, or wrapping paper is 
used for the scribbling child. Although these materials may have a real 
place in the art program at a different developmental level, these ma- 
terials have no place in the nursery school or in the kindergarten. Drawing 
a dark line over a printed news page is much too confusing, the back of 
old wallpaper tends to be rough and prevents the easy flow of the crayon, 
and wrapping paper does not provide good contrast with the drawing 
medium. A 12-by-18-inch size light colored or white paper is best for 
crayon; a larger 18-by-24-inch size is best if paint is going to be used. 

Tempera or poster paint can be used to advantage with this age group 
(see Figure 25). This is especially true if the paint is mixed to a fairly thick 
consistency so that it does not dribble or run down the page. The oppor- 
tunity to use paint can satisfy some of the emotional needs of the scribbler 
better than a crayon. The result is obvious joy in exploring a range of 
colors. We mentioned before that a flat surface was best for a child to paint 
on, since the problems of running paint are thus minimized and the child 

Figure 26. Working with clay provides tlie oppor- 
tunity for a child to experiment with a three-dimen- 
sional material. 


can work from all sides of his paper. However, in situations where space 
is at a minimum, it is better to use an easel, or even to fasten paper on 
the wall, than not to give a painting experience at all. Large fairly ab- 
sorbent paper, three-quarter-inch bristle brushes with the handle not too 
long, and some variety of thickly mixed tempera paint provide a wonder- 
ful opportunity for an emotional outlet and a truly artistic experience. 

Clay is also an excellent material for this age (see Figure 26). Handling 
a three-dimensional material provides the opportunity for the child to use 
his fingers and muscles in a different way. Beating and pounding the clay 
without any visible purpose is a parallel stage to disordered scribbling. The 
forming of coils and balls without attempting any specific object is 
parallel to controlled scribbling. At some point the child may pick up a 
lump of clay and, perhaps with accompanying noises, call it an airplane 
or say, "This is a car." Psychologically, this is exactly the same change in 
the process of thinking as we discussed under "Naming of Scribbling." 
Also here, the child has changed his kinesthetic thinking to imaginative 
thinking. The clay should not be so hard as to be difficult to work with 
nor so thin that it sticks to the fingers. Clay of proper consistency can 
be stored in a plastic bag for an indefinite length of time. Since the scrib- 
bling child does not have good control over his small muscles, the clay 
chunk he works with should be large enough to be grasped with both 
hands. A grapefruit-sized piece of clay is probably adequate. Since the 
child is exploring and manipulating the material in a kinesthetic way, 
there is no need to let the clay harden or even to think of firing these 

Providing an opportunity for children to become aware of color and 
texture by the handling of various collage materials may be of value (see 
Figure 27). Although it is interesting for the child to select some materials 
he enjoys, and then put these into some sort of assemblage, the continued 
use of collage materials may stand in the way of the development of 
motor-visual experiences. The occasional use of collage materials is cer- 
tainly worthwhile for the scribbling child. 

In some nursery schools and kindergartens finger paint is a favorite 
material. There is some real reason to doubt the advantages of using this 
medium with the scribbling child. Just as we would hesitate to have a very 
young infant handle and use a crayon, if the prime enjoyment from the 
crayon was scratching it or chewing on it, we should hesitate to use finger 
paint with the scribbling child who tends to be concerned with the sticky 
consistency. One of the great differences between men and animals is 

Figure 27. A child enjoys exploring a box of mate- 
rials of various colors and textures. 

that men use tools and animals do not. If we think of art materials as 
primarily providing the opportunity for the expression of the child, then 
the misuse of materials may interfere with the activity for which the finger 
paint was originally planned. Instead of improving control over their 
muscular activities, children can become involved in the pastelike con- 
sistency. We also have evidence from experiments and direct observation 
that the young child may regress into an earlier stage of behavior. Finger 
paint, because of its very consistency, may remind children of these former 
stages and retard development temporarily. You may easily see this effect 
by watching your children. If they are more concerned with the sticky 
consistency and with smearing the paint all over than with using it for 
expression, then they are not using finger paint to satisfy the desire to 
control their kinesthetic movements. Ho\yever, for tense, timid, or fearful 
children finger painting may provide an important outlet even when used 
in such a manner. 
There is no place in the art program for those activities that do not have 


meaning to the scribbling child. Occasionally a nursery school or kinder- 
garten teacher may plan certain art activities such as pasting, tracing, 
folding, or cutting; these are designed for a particular end product, such as 
May baskets. Pilgrim silhouettes, cute snowmen, or projects for Hallo- 
ween, Christmas, or Mother's Day. Such activities are worthless and should 
never be included in a program planned for scribbling children, for such 
activities only point out the inability of the child to perform on a level 
foreign to his understanding and ability. Sometimes teachers have an 
interest in discovering new and novel activities for children. Any new ma- 
terial should be looked upon with a great deal of care to make sure that 
it can further the natural development of children. It must not obstruct 
the opportunity for the child to gain control over his material; rather, it 
should promote a closer relationship between his own creative expression 
and his environment. 

A Discussion of the Meaning 
of the ScribbUng Stage 

Growth tends to be an erratic process. This can be seen quite dra- 
matically in the physical growth pattern of youngsters. Although we can 
say that children of a certain age have an average height of so many 
inches, we find great differences in individuals; sudden spurts of growth, 
especially during adolescence, make us realize that growth is not always 
a smooth continuous process. The same holds true for the development 
of the young child. We have said that art is a reflection of man's reaction 
to his environment; in the scribbling stage this is easily seen, as scribbling 
can be looked upon as a reflection of the physical and emotional develop- 
ment of children. As we find differences in growth, so we also find great 
individual differences in the scribbling of children. 

To a great extent the differences as mentioned earlier in "Levels of 
Scribbling" reflect a biological change in the child. On the average we 
expect children to start scribbling at about the age of two and continue 
until about four years of age. If there is a marked discrepancy, the child 
is either above or below the average for his age. If we look at the scribble 
in the illustration in Figure 24 and are told that this was done by a child 
of three years of age who also said, "I am walking with my dog," as he 
drew, we recognize that the child is advanced for his age. If on the other 
hand we find that this is a drawing by a child of seven years who has 

Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 109 

never drawn other than scribbles, we assume that this child is below the 
average for his age. This is obviously not a lack of "talent." 

The whole concept of intelligence as used within our society is essen- 
tially that of relating one child to the performances of others of his same 
chronological age. A child who performs tasks typical of an older age 
tends to be considered more intelligent. Since scribbling is a reflection of 
a child's total development, we then have here some indication of a child's 
intellectual growth, particularly at a time when the usual group-type in- 
telligence tests do not function. Therefore, a kindergarten child who is 
still in the scribbling stage will not be able to perform at the level usually 
expected of kindergarten children. In first grade this same child could not, 
nor would he be biologically ready to, learn to read. It is obvious that the 
understanding of scribbling can help us understand children. 

Teachers can look at the scribbles of children as being a part of the 
total child. There is some danger however in looking at scribbles from 
the point of view of making adult interpretations of them. That is, circles 
and vertical lines should be looked upon as being circles and vertical 
lines and not as being symbolic or having meaning other than scribbles. 
When adults look at an ink spot, each person can see within this ink spot 
certain figures or forms that remind him of certain aspects of his own 
life. Adults can also look at scribbles in the same way and see certain 
forms or shapes, but this has very little to do with the child's meaning or 
intent. We may get a better understanding of an adult, but little help in 
understanding children. 

Some interesting work has been done in attempting to relate color and 
form to the personality of children of nursery school age. A well-known 
study by Alschuler and Hattwick attempts to relate the paintings of some 
one hundred and fifty nursery school children to certain of their behavioral 
characteristics." In a two-volume report support is given to the assumption 
that children expose in painting their emotional experiences and adjust- 
ments. Those children who consistently painted in warm colors manifested 
free emotional behavior in warm affectionate relations, children who 
preferred blue tended to be more controlled in their behavior, and children 
who used black tended as a group to show a dearth of emotional be- 
havior. More recent studies have raised questions about these conclusions, 
however. Corcoran found evidence that three-year-old children used 
colors in sequential order when painting at an easel.''' That is, the colors 
were used from left to right or right to left on the easel tray, regardless 
of what the colors were. In a doctoral study by Biehler it appeared that 



nursery school children tended to apply colors in direct relationship to 
how they were placed on the easel tray.^ This might indicate that paint- 
ing at this level is more a mechanical approach than an emotional one. 
Although at this age scribbling tends to be primarily manipulative and 
striving for visual control, there are great individual differences. Color as 
part of the scribbling process in painting is mainly exploratory, and the 
use of particular colors may be related more closely to the physical arrange- 
ment of colors than to deep-seated emotional problems. 

There is a direct relationship between how a child approaches scribbling 
and how he relates to the rest of his environment. His scribbles with 
crayon, paint, or clay exhibit the same type of characteristics the child 
exhibits in other situations. This can be readily observed. Children who 
tend to be delicate and timid usually have a similar approach to art 
materials. The scribbles themselves tend to reflect the delicate and timid 
personality of a child. A child who has lost confidence in his ability 
to adjust to new situations will tend to scribble in stereotyped repetitions 
(see Figure 28). Lack of confidence can be readily seen in these repeated 

Figure 28. This scribble repeats stereotyped motions, 
showing a lack of self-confidence. 

Plate 1. "Mommy and Daddy," painted l)y a four-year- 
old child. He has just left the scribbling stage, still em- 
ploys a simple circular motion for heads, and has no desire 
as yet to establish color-object relationships. 

Plate 2. "I Am in a Lightning Storm," painted by a six-year-old 
child. He has discovered his own relationship to color, which is 
not naturalistic. This discovery is a vital experience, satisfying 
the child's urge for expression. 

Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 111 

patterns, which are drawn over and over again as a measure of security. 
This harmful security can inhibit the growth of a child, as it tends to 
block any further development. It is therefore important for the 
emotional growth of the child that he be encouraged to develop concepts 
and to realize the possibilities of scribbling. 

It is very apparent that an adult artist uses his senses to acquaint him- 
self with his surroundings and also to translate these reactions to his 
environment into paintings and constructions. The growth of sense ap- 
paratus is a vital necessity for everyone. We have already discussed the 
early development of an awareness of kinesthetic sensations. We also can 
encourage the development of tactile sensations at this age. The op- 
portunity to examine common materials of our environment provides 
a variety of both kinesthetic and tactile experiences. By encouraging the 
exploration of a variety of tactile sensations, an adult can stimulate the 
child who approaches clay through the use of the linger tips only. A 
child who does not enjoy tactile sensations may avoid contact with dif- 
ferent textures. Encouraging children to experience and become aware of 
a variety of tactile differences can help develop this area of perceptual 
growth. Noticing differences between hot and cold, hard and soft, or just 
enjoying the tactile differences between feathers and glass or between 
metal and velvet can be an exciting experience. The child who enjoys 
tactile sensations will become easily engrossed in working with clay. 

Scribbling itself is primarily a kinesthetic activity, and the enjoyment of 
this activity is usually seen in the young child's drawings in the vigorous 
and large motions. However, it is important to point out that not all 
children have to make large motions. To force them upon a child is just 
as senseless as to try to change a delicate child into a robust one. Any 
imposition creates unhealthy reactions. Providing the encouragement and 
freedom to enjoy a variety of kinesthetic experiences can provide a firm 
foundation for future development. 

Only when the child enters the stage of naming of scribbling does he 
have the desire to use different colors to designate different meanings. 
Color perception does not necessarily have to be connected with verbal 
recognition of color. One of the first stages of color perception is to merely 
distinguish between colors. This in no way indicates that a child should 
be expected to name colors, but rather that the child should be given the 
opportunity to have some choice of color at this stage. 

Creative children scribble independently of outside influences. Even 
when they scribble in a group they seldom inquire, ask c]uestions, or look 


at their neighbors' work. For them their own work provides all the neces- 
sary stimulation. But there are also children who constantly ask questions, 
wondering how to use the material, asking the way things should be done. 
They are also the ones who are easily influenced by the work of others. If 
one child starts with big round motions, they will start to imitate him. 
Lack of self-confidence and of independence in thinking are responsible 
for such easy influences. These are the children who lack confidence in 
their own creativeness. They are ready to imitate the works of others. They 
are the ones who most need a boost in their creativeness, and they are 
also the easy victims of coloring books and of people who promote the use 
of patterns. Especially when a child names his scribblings will his 
originality and creativeness become evident. He will develop his own 
stories and will not need the questions of adults. This in no way implies 
that the creative child is not influenced by things around him. Rather, the 
creative child is one who enjoys and gets satisfaction from his own work 
without the continuing approval of the teacher. Since scribbling is the 
beginning of creative expression, it is especially important at this time 
to develop self-confidence in the child and to give him the independence 
and responsibility for his own work. Ideally, each child should be self- 
motivated to express himself and to feel satisfaction with the process. It 
is sad but true that projects planned for the scribbling child occasionally 
undercut his confidence. Projects that develop dependence upon the adult, 
projects too difficult for a young child to accomplish by himself, projects 
conceived by and for adults — all tend to undercut the self-confidence of 
children in their own means of expression. 

Summary of Growth Characteristics Pertaining 
to the ScribbUng Stage 

For a better understanding of the child it is of great importance that 
scribbling be looked upon as part of the total growth pattern. A child at 
this age should reflect in his creative work his intellectual and emotional 
development. He should pursue his scribbles vigorously yet be flexible 
enough to change his movements whenever new experiences demand such 
changes. He should be responsible for what he is doing and relate the 
scribbles directly to himself. He should be able to enjoy his kinesthetic 
development through his scribbles and later gain visual control over these 
scribblings. Creatively, he should be independent and free from disturbing 

Beginnings of Self-expression: The Scribbling Stage 113 

influences. He should feel free to explore his environment through a 
variety of senses and when he arrives at the naming of scribbling stage 
include some of these senses within his scribblings. The drawings them- 
selves should have a healthy variety, starting at two years of age with a 
series of random markings, changing to continuous or controlled motions 
six months later, to much more complicated but varied scribbles when he 
begins to name what he has drawn. His work with paint will closely 
parallel the work with crayon, and he will particularly enjoy the use of 
a variety of colors when he begins to name his scribblings. He will also 
enjoy working with a range of three-dimensional materials, but no end 
product looking like something in nature will develop. 

To provide the opportunity for a child to grow by means of his art 
experiences, to develop the confidence and sensitivity so important for 
self-expression, to provide a range of materials and the environmental 
setting so important for creative activities, to provide the stimulation and 
motivation for the developing awareness of his environment, and to 
provide the encouragement and approval for the creative act — all these 
responsibilities rest squarely upon the shoulders of the teacher. 

Related Activities 

1. Collect examples of art work from a nursery school or preschool group of 
children. Observe the variety of expression. Try to classify the scribbles 
according to disordered, controlled, or naming of scribbling stage. Com- 
pare the drawings for use of space, control of line, boldness or timidity of 

2. Collect the scribbles of one child over a period of several months. Date each 
drawing and note any remarks the child made while drawing. Keep a 
notebook in which you record observations on length of attention span, 
materials used, amount of concentration or diversions, motions and tech- 
nique used, and the emotional reactions of the child. Compare these notes 
with the child's motor coordination when eating, dressing, and so forth. 
Draw conclusions from the three sources of information (the scribbles, the 
notes, and the behavior) as to the child's growth during this time. 

3. Find out the effectiveness of your motivation during the period of naming 
of scribbling by comparing one scribble done when the child was left com- 
pletely alone with another made when you motivated the child in the di- 
rection of his thinking. 

4. Observe children working with clay. See if those children who make forms 
or shapes also give these forms names. How does this relate to the scribbles 
of these same children? 


5. Watch children paint at an easel several times. Make a list of the amount 
of paint used and the order of use. Shift the order of paints in the easel 
trough and see if there are any changes. Experiment with two or three 
different consistencies of paint each week. Repeat this for several weeks to 
see if children make any comments or if there is any relation between 
paint consistency and length of time spent in painting. 

6. When a child starts to name his scribbling, does he introduce certain lines 
or motions for certain objects or experiences? Observe the development of a 
form for man. Collect scribbles and keep notes on the changes in the 
scribbles when naming begins. 


1. Rhoda Kellogg, What Children Scribble and Why (Palo Alto, Calif.: The 

National Press, 1959). 

2. Rose H. Alschuler and LaBerta AVeiss Hattwick, Painting and Personality 

(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947). 

3. Ambrose L. Corcoran, "Color Usage in Nursery School Painting," Child 

Development, XXV, No. 2 (June 1954), p. 107 fl. 

4. Robert F. Biehler, "An Analysis of Free Painting Procedures as Used with 

Preschool Children" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of 
Minnesota, 1953). 


First Representational 

Attempts: The Preschematic 
Stage, Four to Seven Years 

Understanding the Preschematic Stage 

A DIFFERENT modc o£ drawing has begun — the conscious creation of form! 
This stage grows directly out of the last stages of scribbling. Scribbling 
has lost more and more of its causal relationship between body move- 
ments and marks on the paper and now has made way for true representa- 
tion, which is related to visual objects. In scribbling the child was mainly 
involved in a kinesthetic activity, but now he is involved with the 
establishment of a relationship to what he intends to represent. This 
relationship will create a great feeling of satisfaction; in the beginning 
the mere fact that a relationship with the visual world has been achieved 
will be of greater significance than will be the quality of that representa- 


Figure 29. "A Man," drawn by a four-year-old child. 
First representational attempts develop naturally 
from the child's scribbles. 

It is interesting to note how a child can reorganize his scribblings so 
that circular motions and longitudinal motions now are brought into a 
real functional relationship. These scribbles become recognizable both 
to the child and to the observant adult as being a symbol for a man (see 
Figure 29). A child's first representational attempts grow directly from 
symbols the child was using in the scribbling stages. The fact that the 
child is now able to represent on a two-dimensional surface a part of his 
concept of the visual world is an exciting and satisfying experience. As 
the child establishes this relationship to his world in his representation, 
there is a need to enrich this newly won achievement. 

Usually the first representational symbol achieved is a man. The man is 
typically drawn with a circle for a head and two vertical lines usually 
interpreted to be legs or body. These head-feet representations are common 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 117 

for a five-year-old child (see Plate 1). It is not surprising that the first 
representation should be a person. The importance of people in children's 
drawings is quite evident throughout childhood. In fact, the head itself 
is continually drawn proportionately large. This head-feet representation, 
then, is the first step in establishing a relationship between the child's 
drawing and the most important parts of his external world. Additional 
lines will be placed upon this head-feet representation to further enrich 
it: the most common are arms, which are usually attached to the head 
itself, and some symbol for the eyes and other features. To what extent 
the child enriches this concept of a man depends upon many factors in 
his total growth. 

During this stage of development the child is continually searching for 
new concepts, and his representational symbols change constantly. He 
represents a man today differently from the way he will draw a man to- 
morrow. We see at this stage the greatest variety of forms representing the 
same object. This constant searching for new concepts will gradually 
develop into a representative pattern for each child. This individual 
pattern, or schema, can be readily observed in drawings by the time a child 
is seven years old; however, before this individual pattern, or schema, is 
firmly established, we have a very flexible and, to some adults, the most 
exciting stage of development in children's drawings. 

General Development of Representative Symbols 

The discovery that there is a relationship between his mental pictures 
and his drawings makes a great moment for Johnny. That these drawings 
can be shared with adults becomes of great importance, for here we find 
the first steps in graphic communication. The relationship between the 
drawing and Johnny's mental picture is not based on what he sees, 
because the child knows more of mother than just the fact that she has 
a head and two legs. The drawing depends upon the knowledge that 
Johnny has readily available and that becomes important and meaningful 
during the act of drawing. Johnny knows much more than he draws for 
he can name various parts of the body if these are pointed out to him. 

The child discovers that there is a relationship between his drawings 
and outside experiences; and the drawing of this relationship is a process 
of translation into a new realization of what the child actually knows 
and sees. This translation we can call a concept. The concept the child 


draws depends upon his mental understanding of past experiences with 
some object or other stimulus. A percept, on the other hand, is a sensory 
activity, and is done with the eyes and other senses. A child in this 
preschematic stage is involved in portraying his concepts or his own 
mental translations of what he has perceived in the past into some new 
formation or symbol. Since this symbol in art represents something, we 
shall call the concept in art a representative symbol. By looking at some 
drawings of a child of this age we can readily differentiate between the 
understanding of a concept and a percept. Let us look at the drawing in 
Figure 30. This is obviously a concept. The child thinks that this is a man; 
a man has a head, two legs, and two feet. "My drawing has a head, two 
legs, and two feet; therefore, my drawing is a man." If we were to subtract 
the head from the rest of the drawing, we could not be sure that this 
was indeed a head. This is very obvious if we try to take away one of 
the legs. The leg might look like some letter or possibly just a musical 
note, but it is quite clear that it would not be a leg. Therefore, we have 
here a concept that deals with the mental understanding and thinking 
process of the child. What he knows and what he perceives is much 
more than what is actively in his mind as he is drawing. One can readily 
tell if a child is still in the preschematic stage by seeing if the parts of 
the drawing lose their meaning when separated from the whole. 

Herbert Read has made an important and extensive study of the 
significance of the lines in drawing in relationship to the emotions and 
character of the creator.^ Since the development of the representative 
symbol has its origin in scribbling, we can readily understand that in it 
are reflected some of the personal and even body characteristics of the 
child. The earliest representational attempts of children continue to be 
closely tied up with the individual's development. 

Meaning of Space 

The representation of space in drawings or paintings by adult artists 
differs widely, depending not only upon the individual artist but also 
upon the culture in which he finds himself. Our own society tends to look 
upon the representation of space as being appropriately shown by the 
use of perspective, a mechanical perspective with vanishing points and 
horizon lines. However, this has not been true for other times or other 
cultures; for example, an oriental concept of space shows objects in the 

Figure 30. "I Am on the Street," painted by a five-and-a-half- 
year-old child. Notice the ambulance and airplanes. Space and 
objects are conceived to be revolving around the child. 

distance drawn higher on the page. Many contemporary artists have re- 
jected mechanical perspective of space in favor of placing subject matter 
honestly on a two-dimensional surface. It can be readily seen, then, that 
there is no right or wrong way to portray space in a drawing. 

The drawings of a child in the first representational level show a 
concept of space quite different from that of an adult. At first glance, 
objects in space tend to be put down in a somewhat random order. How- 
ever, closer inspection will show that the child conceives of space as that 
which is around him. That is, objects will appear above, below, or beside 
each other in the way the child understands them. He does not see 
himself standing on the ground with other objects also on the ground 
beside him. Possibly this could be better understood if we were to quickly 
look around the room and list the things we have seen. "There is a 
table, there is a light, here is a chair, and I am in the middle." No spatial 
relationship has been established outside the child's concept of himself. 
Space, therefore, is conceived of as revolving around the child. A boy of 
five and one-half years drew the picture in Figure 30. Here he thinks, 
"There am I. There is an ambulance. There are airplanes. There is the 


sky." No relationship between the objects has been established. The child 
did not think, "I am standing on the street. The ambulance comes along 
the street. Above, there is the sky. The airplanes fly in the air." Notice 
the four wheels on the ambulance. 

Since experiencing one's self as part of the environment is one of the 
most important assumptions for cooperation and for visual coordination, 
the child's inability to relate things to each other in space, outside the 
self, is a clear indication that he is not ready to cooperate socially and 
he does not have the ability to relate letters to each other or to learn to 
read. A kindergarten teacher can readily tell from a child's drawings 
whether the child is ready to participate in tasks that require spatial 
coordination. Forcing a child too early into tasks he is not yet ready for 
may lead to undesirable actions and attitudes, which may last longer 
and be more important than doing the task at the moment. Since the 
child sees himself as the center of his environment, in what might be 
called a stage of egotism, experiences that are directly related to himself 
become the most meaningful. A child's conception of his world may be 
so bound up with himself that he may confuse his own thoughts and feel- 
ings with those things around him. If a chair falls over, he is concerned 
about the chair's being hurt. It is almost as though he, too, were the 
chair. We can say, therefore, that the child at this stage is emotionally 
involved in his spatial relationships. The size of objects and the subject 
matter he selects from his environment, and the way in which these 
are placed in this early stage, are to a large degree conditioned by value 
judgments. We can see that the way in which a child portrays space is 
intimately tied up with his whole thinking process. To teach an adult's 
concept of space to children at this age not only would be most confusing 
but might actually damage the self-confidence of the child in his own 
creative work. 

The Significance of Color 

During the child's first representational attempts, more interest and 
excitement are stimulated through the relationship of a drawing to an 
object than between the color and those objects. It has been shown that 
a child of this age discriminates differences in form before differences in 
color.- Therefore, we often find little relationship between the colors 
selected at this age and the objects represented. A man might be red. 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschcmatic Stage 121 

blue, green, or yellow, depending upon how the different colors appeal 
to the child. We discussed earlier some of the findings about the meaning 
of color in the scribbling stage. Although color can be looked upon as 
more a mechanical selection at that level, during these first representational 
attempts a child will often select a color because of its particular appeal. 
There are surely deeper psychological meanings in the choice of color, but 
these meanings tend to be highly individualized. It is not strange to 
think of a child's liking red, and it seems to make sense that when a child 
is drawing or painting his mother, he will want to select his favorite color 
for drawing her (see Plate 2). The first relationships of color therefore 
are determined primarily by their emotional qualities. 

The use of color at this age can be an exciting experience. Although 
the child has no desire for "direct" color relationship, he can and does 
enjoy the use of color for its own sake. Criticizing a child's use of color, 
or pointing out the "correct" color for objects at this age would be inter- 
fering with the child's own expressions. Ample opportunity should be pro- 
vided for the child to discover his own relationships with color, for it is 
through the continued experimentation with color that a child establishes 
a sensitive relationship between his own emotional involvement with color 
and a harmonious organization of color on the page. 

Art Motivation 

Any art motivation should stimulate a child's thinking, feeling, and 
perceiving. To be successful, the motivation should make the art experi- 
ence much more than just an activity; it should stimulate a child's aware- 
ness of his environment and make him feel that the art activity is 
extremely vital and more important than anything else. A teacher, too, 
must feel that this is an important activity, and he himself must be a 
part of the motivation and identify with it. As long as the adult remains 
outside the motivation and merely directs an art activity, we should not 
expect children to be "with it." To merely follow an adult's instructions 
for working with materials, or to be handed paper and told, "Draw what 
you want," or even to have a range of material and activities to do over 
a period of time — this can result in busyness but can fail miserably in 
being a meaningful learning experience. One cannot expect a child to 
gain in his knowledge and confidence and in his sensitivity toward his 
environment if there is a barrier between adult and child. The teacher 

Figure 31. The child's con- 
cept of the world may be 
puzzling to the adult, but 
obviously these forms have 
significance of an intensely 
personal nature. 

as well as the child needs to feel that this is an important, meaningful, 
and stimulating experience. 

A child should become involved in, and identified with, his art experi- 
ences. Since we have discovered that all contact or communication with 
the environment is established through the self, it is of great importance 
to stimulate the sensitivity toward the self. Therefore, any art motivation 
at this age should start directly with the child himself. We know that 
a child's development in art follows general growth patterns. He has 
certain needs, which should be considered in any good motivation. First 
of all we know the child needs to discover a relationship between his 
own marks and the outside world. Now for the first time he relates to 
his own work and to his concept of his environment (see Figure 31). 
These concepts deal directly with the child himself and therefore we 
know that they are always related to the "I" and "my." In order to do 
justice at this age level and to make a meaningful experience for the 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 123 

child, these needs must be carefully considered. Ideas imposed by adults 
and activities not meaningful to the child, which do not stimulate his 
relationship to his own environment, should be discarded. 

One of the best means of stimulating the child's relationship to things 
around him is to start with the function of the various body parts. This 
stimulation of a child's concept of his body parts will show readily in the 
drawings of children at this age. For example, a class of first graders who 
draw only a line for a mouth can be motivated to include teeth and other 
facial features by stimulating an awareness of teeth in a topic such as 
"Brushing Your Teeth in the Morning," 

"When do you get up in the morning, children? When do you get up? 
What, at seven? How long does it take you to get dressed? Does your 
mother call you? Do you have an alarm clock? How long does it take 
you to get dressed then? Does your mother have to help you? Do you 
have to catch a bus? Where do you have your bedroom? On the second 
floor? Why? All by yourself? After you are dressed are you ready to 
catch the bus? No? Oh, you haven't eaten your breakfast yet? But you 
forgot! You went to breakfast without brushing your teeth! Oh, you 
brush your teeth after breakfast? Don't you have to hurry? Especially if 
it's raining? Oh, you brush your teeth anyway! Why? You mean it's 
bad to leave all that food in between your teeth all day? Do you brush 
your teeth every morning, Johnny? How do you hold your toothbrush? 
With just two fingers? Oh, you hold it this way! Do you brush your 
teeth back and forth? Oh, no; you mean you do it up and down? Why? 
Did you ever get your toothbrush caught in between your teeth? Does 
it hurt? You have to be a little careful when you brush your teeth, don't 
you! But, Johnny, did you forget the tooth paste? Some people don't 
use tooth paste! Do you? Let's think of how we brush our teeth! Let's 
really brush them good and clean! Now are we all set to go to school? 
Oh, no; not with all that toothpaste still there! 

"Now, children, we are going to paint how we get up in the morning 
and go to the bathroom and brush our teeth." 

Every child should now have a feeling for brushing his teeth, and 
one may even have a pain where he got his toothbrush caught between 
his teeth. But every child will be conscious of his teeth, and each drawing 
will include teeth as an active part of the child's awareness. We can 
compare former drawings with those drawn after the motivation; if an 
enrichment of the form concept has taken place, the teacher was successful. 
In this topic, "Brushing Our Teeth," an enrichment of the form concept 


of mouth and a closer coordination between mouth and arm may be 

In some cases the motivation for a lesson such as the one above can be 
done by actively engaging the child in an actual experience. One example 
might be to pass out a bag of candy for the children to munch on. "Is it 
hard? Do you really have to bite with your teeth.?" Actual experiences are 
sometimes very helpful. However, the activating of the child's knowl- 
edge of himself in his immediate environment, to develop his concept of 
the environment through his own body self, is what is important. Any 
such motivation should include as many senses and sensory experiences 
as possible, and should include the total child in terms of his thinking, 
feeling, and perceiving. 

The length of motivation may depend upon several factors. If the 
children have just engaged in an actual experience, a short discussion may 
be quite sufficient. However, in some cases the motivation may take longer 
than the actual drawing or painting experience. Discussing how a child 
feels in the rain, how the rain feels on his face, or what clothes the child 
has to put on, and stimulating an awareness of the sensations of walking 
with boots on or even how his feet feel if they are wet inside his boots, 
may take a longer time. 

In some cases the motivation may be concerned primarily with the 
material itself. When first working with clay or collage material, the 
experience with the actual qualities of the material will be most important. 
"How does the clay feel? Is it hot or cold? Can you push your finger 
into it? Does it bend easily?" This type of question may be the only 
motivation necessary to stimulate a child to a greater awareness of his 
own senses and to help him to identify directly with what he is doing. 

A motivation based primarily upon recall of something in which the 
children have all been involved, should provide the opportunity for each 
child to express his own feelings and emotions in his own individual way. 
No attempt should be made to censor the child's creative expression, but 
rather we should try to stimulate the greatest variety of responses. The 
general atmosphere for the particular topic should be generally established 
by a discussion of the where and when. "Where do you go to school? 
What time do you go to school? Do you walk?" The what should always 
follow. In this case it might be catching the bus. After a discussion of 
catching, the bus the motivation should culminate in a thorough dis- 
cussion of how. "How do you get on the bus? Do you hold on to the door 
when you climb in? Is the first step a high one?" Every topic for 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 125 

motivation should therefore include first the ivhere and tvhen, second 
the ivhat, and third the how. 

Subject Matter 

The most important consideration in the selection of topics for children 
in these first representational attempts should be the meaning of the 
activity for the children. The more involved the child becomes in the 
art activity, the more he identifies tvith what he is doing, the more he is 
actively using his senses, the more the project is really his own, the more 
meaningful it becomes for him. At this age it is particularly important 
that any motivation or any subject matter be related directly through the 
child himself. To emphasize this, the following topics are characterized 
by the words / and my. 

"I and My Mother" (sizes) 

"I and My Family" (sizes) 

"I and My House" (sizes) 

"I Am Brushing My Teeth" (teeth) 

"I Am Drinking My Milk" (mouth) 

"I Am Blowing My Nose" (nose) 

"I Hurt My Knee" (knee) 

"I Am at the Dentist" (teeth) 

"I Am Picking Flowers" (hand, arms) 

"I Am Eating Breakfast" (mouth) 

"I Am on the Swing" (body) 

"I Have a Stomach Ache" (body) 

"I and My Doll" (emotional relationship) 

"I Get a Birthday Present" (emotional relationship) 

"I and My Pet" (emotional relationship) 

Children often have subject matter within themselves, requiring no 
motivation or further encouragement for it to spill out. Every kindergarten 
and first grade teacher realizes that if Johnny's cat has had kittens, this 
news will come out in arithmetic class, during social studies, or maybe 
when the child bursts into the room first thing in the morning. Ample 



opportunity should be given children to express on paper their feelings 
and emotions. Some of these feelings will be very apparent to any adult. 
Such topics as "The First Snowfall," "The Storm," "An Approaching 
Holiday," "A Community Celebration," "A Big Fire" are all subject 
matter that cannot be ignored. However, some subject matter will be a 
great deal more personal to the individual child. Such topics as "My New 
Baby Sister," "I Got Hit by a Car," "I Got Lost in the Store," "My House 
Caught on Fire," or "I Have a New Dress" all make appropriate subject 
matter for any age. The child who produced Figure 32 eagerly explained 
that his teacher, represented by an armless figure, watched while he played 
in the kindergarten play yard. When the child is eager for expression, art 
should certainly not be limited to a specific time of the day nor regimented 
to a particular topic. 

Another topic area that is suitable for subject matter during these first 
representational attempts is an art material itself. Any art material 
should play a subordinate role in an art experience, and the child's own 
expression should be of greatest importance. However, at this age children 
have been exposed to a limited number of art materials, and in some cases 

Figure 32. "I Am Playing in the School Yard," drawn in chalk by a five-year-old 
boy. Apparently the teacher only watches while the youngster plays on the slide, 
for the child has drawn the teacher without arms. 

Ml \X^U*% *^XI I \S\ *i i^^4f 

Figure 33. "I Am Rowing the Boat," modeled in clay, 
shows how exploration of a three-dimensional material may 
provide new spatial concepts and understanding. 

the experience with these materials may have been limited to a restricted 
use. The prime reason, then, for using an art material for subject matter 
is to provide the child with a positive attitude toward these materials 
and to insure the greatest amount of exploration and flexibility in its use. 
Such experimentations with art materials should be related directly to 
the child himself (see Figure 33) and should not be concerned with any 
adult consideration of "artistic qualities." The use of an art material as a 
subject matter should therefore take the form of "How I Explore and 
Experiment with the Various Qualities of Clay," or "How I Find Out 
About the Qualities of Tempera Paint." 

Any topic for art expression, whether it is an experiment with art 
materials or an expression of a real or vicarious experience, should 
not only be tied closely to the child's body self but should also provide 
the opportunity for the child to establish a relationship between his draw- 
ing and his own environment. 

Art Materials 

Since the child at this age is excited by his ability to represent what 
is meaningful to him, any art experience should provide the opportunity 


for developing mastery of the material itself. Since the process of creating 
is of greater significance than the final product, an art material should be 
selected that meets the need of the age group for which it was planned. 
Constantly introducing or changing art materials may actually stand in 
the way of a child's mastering the material enough to express his own 
feelings, his own reactions to his sensory processes and his own intellectual 
concepts of his environment. 

Another consideration is that any art material should be a true art 
material. That is, expression itself is not limited to any age group, and 
any material used with children should be of such a nature that a child 
may use this material throughout his life. There should be no "cute" 
art materials for kindergarten children to use, since they provide no 
opportunity for continued growth. 

For developing great freedom, a bristle brush, tempera paint thickly 
prepared, on a somewhat absorbent large sheet of paper are best materials 
for this age level. Absorbent paper (about 18 by 24 inches) is recormnended 
because it prevents the paint from running. A low flat table provides the 
best surface on which to paint; the floor can also be successfully used. 
If the limitations of space do not allow painting on a flat surface, easels 
or a bulletin board can be used. Here, however, the paint should be of 
thick enough consistency so that the child can control his painting with- 
out the frustration of dripping accidents. 

Good quality colored crayons and smaller sheets of paper (12 by 18 
inches) are excellent materials. The quality of the crayon can be deter- 
mined by the amount of surplus wax that can easily be scratched off the 
paper. The more surplus there is, the poorer the quality of the crayon. 
The crayon should be large and unwrapped. Too often a new set of 
wrapped, sharply pointed crayons is looked upon as a treasure to keep 
rather than a material to use. Unwrapped crayons can be used on the sides 
and ends, and their use is less likely to be confused with the function 
of a pencil. 

Clay is an excellent three-dimensional material for the preschematic 
stage. As in drawings we find a search for a definite concept of form; 
in clay this search is seen in a constant change of modes of representation 
and in the representations themselves. Both pulling out from the lump 
of clay all meaningful parts and adding parts together to make a form 
can be observed. Moist clay can be easily stored in plastic bags, and water 
can be added as needed to maintain the proper consistency. Plasticine, 
which is essentially clay with an oil base, is much more expensive than 
clay and the consistency cannot be altered. 

Figure 34. "Indians," 
drawn with a felt-tipped 
pen by a seven-year-old 
girl. This material lends 
itself to a bold, direct pre- 
sentation of thought. Every 
art material has its own 
characteristics and specific 

In addition to these basic materials there is a range of other materials 
that are quite suitable for this developmental level. These include colored 
chalk, felt tipped pens (see the Indians in Figure 34), colored papers, 
collage materials, and other materials that truly give the child an op- 
portunity to explore and manipulate his environment and provide for a 
flexible development of his concepts. Cute or tricky use of materials 
should be avoided, such as dripping paint, pasting cereals, printing or using 
stencils, or using materials in methods foreign to the child's own inten- 
tions. Purposely, no decorative techniques have been suggested, as on 
this level no child feels the conscious need for decoration. As long as the 
desire to search for a concept of form and space is predominant, the desire 
for decoration generally does not develop. 

There is no place at this age level for cutting out paper flying angels 
or Pilgrim hats. A kindergarten or first grade teacher should not be con- 
cerned with mass-producing little stereotypes for holidays or seasonal 


events, since such activities can only make the child feel inadequate and 
tend to reduce his confidence in his own means of expression. 

A Discussion of the Meaning 
of the Preschematic Stage 

It is important to remember that a child's art is a reflection of himself. 
A child cannot, nor should he be expected to, draw or paint like someone 
else. Although this may seem like an obvious statement, it is well to keep 
this firmly in mind. There are great individual differences in children 
just as there are great individual differences in children's drawings. 
Children also have some general growth characteristics that are common 
to their developmental level and we find this also true in their art work. 
In talking about the child's developing concepts, we have of course been 
talking about his thought processes. The development of these concepts 
in art and their relationship to reality can help us understand the total 
thinking processes of these children. Since this is an age where we find 
great flexibility and change in drawings, it is also an age at which we find 
rapid changes in mode of thinking. We are not discussing thinking as 
only the quiet contemplation of a problem but rather considering the 
total intellectual development, which at this age is nicely confused with 
fantasy, reality, and biological responses to the environment. 

A child who has reached the chronological age of four or five and who 
still thinks in terms of motions has not advanced intellectually to an 
average stage of growth. In looking over a series of drawings by a five- 
year-old child, we would normally expect some representational attempts. 
The more differentiated these attempts are, the higher the intellectual 
processes have been developed. Generally, the more details included in 
a drawing, the more aware the child is of those things around him. Our 
whole concept of intelligence is based primarily upon this assumption. 
The more a person knows about his environment — the more he is ac- 
tively aware of and can utilize the various factors within his environment 
— the more intellectually developed he is. It is fairly obvious, then, that 
the child who has not yet developed concepts of his environment at the 
age of five is retarded, and one reason for this retardation might be 
retardation in his intellectual growth. 

We find some of the same characteristics of development in looking at 
clay. Here also it is of prime significance for the intellectual advancement 




Figure 35. "Walking in tiie Grass After tiie Rain," drawn by a six-year-old boy. 
The picture shows the intense feeling of wetness from the grass on the boy's toes. 

of the child to see if his creative concepts are already concerned with 
imaginative projections. Children at this age may model by starting with 
details, bringing the different parts into their consciousness and relating 
them to each other. Children who model by starting with the whole lump 
of clay usually do not go into detailed expression but rather remain 
with the whole. 

One of the most important indications of this preschematic stage is the 
flexibility of the child. This can best be seen in the frequent changes in 
the child's concepts. The significance of stereotyped repetitions as an 
escape mechanism and as an indication of an emotional block has been 
discussed previously. During the preschematic stage these stereotyped 
repetitions are usuallv seen as merely repetitions of the same symbol 
without any deviations. A child who finds a symbol to hide behind, will 
exhibit in other behavior a tendency to withdraw or to hide behind social 
stereotypes. However, a child who reacts toward meaningful experiences 
in an emotionally sensitive way will show this emotional sensitivity in his 
art work. In his drawings he will exaggerate those things or parts with 
which he has become emotionally involved. For example, in Figure 35, 
John walked barefoot in the grass after the rain; the obvious delight of 


this kinesthetic experience shows in his emphasized toes, almost to tHe 
extent that we, too, can feel our toes in the cool grass. An oversensitive 
child who becomes too bound up with one part of his drawing may 
easily lose connections with the rest of his subject matter. This can some- 
times be seen in greatly overexaggerated details. 

It has been demonstrated by several investigators that continuous exag- 
gerations or omissions of the same body parts usually point toward a 
defect or abnormality of this particular body part.""* Blind individuals 
quite commonly exaggerate the eyes in their creative works. A child with 
a deformed foot continually omitted the foot. Another child who was 
hard of hearing continually emphasized the ears in his creative work. We 
not only find that the exaggerations or omissions can be of importance to 
a child within one particular drawing but we also find that the continued 
exaggeration or omission can point to possible deviations in a child's 
physical growth. 

Of particular interest is the meaning of the child's spatial concepts at 
this age. He conceives space as being primarily related to himself and 
his own body. This is sometimes referred to as body space. We will later 
see how the concept of space changes in his drawings to what is sometimes 
termed object space. We find that children's drawings show markedly 
different spatial organization from that usually conceived of as being 
correct from an adult point of view. Just as children draw what is around 
them in an apparently random fashion, their comments tend to be loose- 
jointed and disconnected. If a child of five is asked what he did at a birth- 
day party, his reply does not follow any logical sequence. In fact, the 
importance of his remarks may be more closely tied up with their emotional 
significance to him, rather than to any orderly array of events. As long as 
a child is still in the preschematic stage, there is no advantage in trying 
to teach this child how to read, or in getting him to reason in an abstract 
way the logical relationships of numbers. Although children can learn 
early how to count or to recognize a word or so, there is no genuine 
understanding of content. 

The first requisite for any degree of awareness of the responsibility for 
social functions is the ability to face one's own experiences and identify 
with them. It is therefore of immediate significance for the proper social 
functioning of an individual whether he has the desire to relate his 
experiences to his creative work. A drawing of an environment in which 
the child has included himself as in Figure 32 shows the first steps to- 
ward social cooperation and awareness of others within this environment. 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 133 

The mere presence of objects in drawings is not an indication of per- 
ception, but may indicate conceptual knowledge or emotional relationships. 
However, the way things are represented is an indication of the type of 
experiences the child has had with them. We will find a development of 
perceptual growth starting at this age. That is, the image a person has 
of himself and of the things around him will change as he becomes more 
aware of the significant characteristics of these objects. Perception means 
more than just the visual appearance of objects; it includes the awareness 
of all of the senses, such as kinesthetic or auditory experiences. We have 
already discussed the fact that most representations during this stage are 
only of a conceptual nature. However, as soon as a child establishes more 
than the mere meaning of an object by visually relating his drawings to 
objects, visual perception will begin and a child will now use lines other 
than mere geometric ones. 

By way of comparison look at the drawing in Figure 35; we find that 
only geometric lines are used. All details would lose their meanings 
when separated from the whole. The same relationship exists in color at 
this age. Looking at Plate 1 and Plate 2 we find that a child's use 
of color is for the sake of color itself. It does not relate to the subject 
matter. We can see here purple rain and a green body and head that 
obviously express very little of a visual percept. 

There will be differences in perceptual sensitivity between children 
at any age; also, some children will be more aware of sound or touch 
whereas another child may be more sensitive to visual stimulation. Since 
we acquaint ourselves with our environment only through our senses, the 
development and cultivation of perception are of prime concern in art 

One of the most vital areas of growth with which we should be con- 
cerned is the area of creative growth. Although it reveals itself in many 
characteristics, creative growth itself is seen in the independence of ap- 
proach. During the first representational attempts, the creative child 
will develop independent relationships to things that are expressed in 
independent concepts. The creative child will never ask how to draw a 
mouth or a nose. He will without hesitancy draw his own concepts. The 
child's own concepts can readily be distinguished from those taken from 
other sources by the free and flexible use and frequent changes that he 
applies to his own concepts. Foreign or copied symbols are usually repeated 
in a stiff and inflexible fashion. In a group the creative child remains 
completely uninfluenced in his own concept by what he sees around him, 


although he may show interest in what others are doing. The creative 
child spontaneously paints or draws or manipulates materials and does 
not create only when motivated. The development of creative growth 
within the context of art education is one of the prime considerations and 
justifications for inclusion of art experiences for any age group. A 
creative first grade girl was stimulated by the Christmas Story to paint the 
manger scene in Figure 36. Notice how she has shown the top view of 
the basket so we can look inside but has shown the side view of the 
stable. That's an angel just arriving on the scene from the left, carrying 
the star. At the level of first representations early patterns are established 
by which a child can develop into a creative adult or by which he can 
develop a dependence in thinking. It is essential, therefore, that at this 
crucial time great consideration be given to the creative development of 

Summary of Growth Characteristics 
of the Preschematic Stage 

The art of children in the stages of first representation can be seen 
as a direct reflection of the child himself. Not only are the drawing and 
painting of a child a record of his concepts, feelings, and perceptions of his 
environment, but these drawings and paintings also provide the sensitively 
aware adult with the means for a better understanding of the child. In 
our discussion of the intellectual growth, the emotional growth, the social 
growth, the perceptual growth, and the creative growth of children our 
concern has been primarily to see art as one of the essential components 
in a child's total development. 

The art of children provides us not only with the understanding of a 
child but also with an opportunity to develop growth patterns through the 
area of art education. Here we mean something a great deal more 
significant than changing the outward appearance of the drawings them- 
selves; we are concerned with the total process of creating. We cannot 
positively affect a child's behavior by providing him with patterns or 
procedures to follow in order to achieve a "better-looking" product. The 
change in the product itself should come about through the changes in a 
child's thinking, feeling, and perceiving. It is through the process that 
changes in behavior or changes in growth patterns develop. It is also 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 135 

through the process that meaningful changes take place in the product 

The art motivation for this particular age group concentrates upon the 
experiences the child himself has had, either in his own physical self, or 
in fantasy, or in vicarious experiences. Since we are all composed of both 
hereditary and environmental factors, and since we can do little about 
the heredity of those children with whom we are working, we must 
concentrate upon the environmental factors within a learning situation. 
Art can play a tremendous role in providing the environment in which 
the various growth patterns can develop. Art plays a crucial part in our 
educational system, particularly in the area of perceptual growth, the de- 
veloping awareness toward those things around us through all of the 
senses; through creative growth, the development of characteristics of 
flexibility, imaginative thinking, originality, and fluency of thinking; and 
also through emotional growth, the ability to face new situations, the 
ability to express both pleasant and unpleasant feelings. Of course to a 

Figure 36. Plan and elevation are combined in this draw- 
ing of the manger scene by a six-and-a-half-year-old girl. 


lesser extent at this age art also provides the opportunity for growth in 
the intellectual, social, and aesthetic areas. 

The majority of children who are beginning to attend public school 
will be in the stages of first representational attempts. It is therefore 
crucial that their introduction to art experiences be a meaningful one. A 
great deal of what goes on within school is dictated by the adult society 
in which we live; however, as we have discovered, the child is not a 
miniature adult nor does he think in adult terms. Art can provide not 
only the opportunity for growth in several vital areas but also the oppor- 
tunity for a child to investigate, invent, explore, make mistakes, have 
feelings of fear and hate, love and joy. Most essential, he should have all 
these experiences of living for himself, for himself as an entity — an indi- 
vidual who can, should, and will think for himself. 

Related Activities 

1. Collect drawings over a period of time from a child who is scribbling, and 
trace the evolution of the first representational symbols. Check to see which 
technique (drawing, painting, or modeling) is the most satisfactory for this 

2. Collect drawings that include symbols for the mouth. Stimulate these chil- 
dren by a motivation built around chewing peanuts. Compare the drawings 
done before and after the motivation to see what changes, if any, have 
taken place in the symbol for the mouth. 

3. Observe the activity of a group of kindergarten children during their free 
play and during organized games. Relate the amount of parallel play to 
the preceding discussion of the use of space in drawings. What are the 
differences or similarities between these two segments of a child's growth? 

4. Compare the development of representational symbols in drawings with 
symbols in clay. Photograph the clay products to keep a record of the de- 
velopment in clay to compare with the drawings. 

5. Compile a list of the various art materials used in several kindergarten 
classes. Rank these in order of value for the child. Are there any materials 
used that cannot be justified as being of value for development? Explain 
your reasons. 

6. Observe a child who is making his first representational symbols. Keep a 
verbatim record of his comments for several different fifteen-minute periods. 
What relationship is there between his verbal and his graphic expression? 

7. From a collection of paintings by five-year-olds list the objects that are 
painted with a visibly established color-object relationship. List those objects 

First Representational Attempts: The Preschematic Stage 137 

that are painted with no visually established color-object relationship. 
What might cause some of these choices of color? 


1. Herbert Read, Education Through Art (London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 

1943), p. 320. 

2. Jerome Kagan and Judith Lemkin, "Form, Color, and Size in Children's 

Conceptual Behavior," Child Development, XXXII, No. 1 (1961), pp. 

3. Read, op. cit.; Walter Kroetsch, Rhythmus und Form in der freien Kinder- 

zeichnung (Leipzig: Diirr, 1917); Ludwig Munz and Viktor Lowenfeld, 
Plastische Arbeiten Blinder (Briinn: Rohrer, 1934); Viktor Lowenfeld, 
The Nature of Creative Activity (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 
Ltd., 1952). 


The Achievement of a Form 

Concept: The Schematic 
Stage, Seven to Nme Years 

The Schema in Drawings by Children 

The importance of the schema can only be fully realized when we under- 
stand the child's desire, after much experimentation, for a definite con- 
cept of man and his environment. Although any drawing could be called 
a schema, or symbol, of a real object, here we will refer to schema as the M 

concept at which a child has arrived and which he repeats again and ' 

again whenever no intentional experience influences him to change this 
concept. These concepts are highly individualized. For some children the 
schema can be a very rich concept, but for other children the schema can 
be a fairly meager symbol. Differences in schemata depend upon many 
things, but just as no two children are the same, we find that no schemata 
are identical; rather they depend upon personality diflferences and upon 









the degree to which a teacher was able to activate the child's passive 
knowledge while he was forming his concepts. Althoug|;i there is no 
magical time for the formation of a schema, most children arrive at this 
stage at about seven years of age. 

We find a pure schema in a child's drawing whenever a child's repre- 
sentation confines itself to the object. "This is a tree." "This a man." 
However, when intentions are present that alter the forms, we can no 
longer speak of a pure schema. Thus, a pure schema, or schematic repre- 
sentation, is a representation with no intentional experiences represented. 
When intentional experiences are represented, or when there are modi- 
fications of the schema, we know that the child has portrayed something 
of importance to him. A study of the kinds of modification undergone 
by the schema allows us to understand the intention underlying the 
representation. This is of special importance to the teacher who may study 
the effects of his teaching by comparing the schema with its deviations. 

The schema of an object is the concept at which the child has finally 
arrived, and it represents the child's active knowledge of the object. The 
schema also refers to space and figures as it refers to objects. For example, 
a child might usually draw a house with roof and windows only. For a 
particular experience the door might be of special significance; he would 
then change his schema and add the door. Through this deviation of the 
schema the child has manifested his particular experience. 


We use the term human schema to describe the concept of a figure at 
which the child has arrived after much experimentation. Younger chil- 
dren in their first representational attempts drew the human figure in 
many different ways, and one child's drawing of a man changed from 
one day to the next. As a child gets closer to the achievement of a form 
concept, he gradually achieves a symbol for a man that is repeated again 
and again, as long as he has no particular experience to influence him 
to change this concept. Each child's schema of a man will be quite dif- 
ferent from any other child's.^ They consist of highly individualized form 

At about the age of seven the drawing of a human figure by a child 
should be a readily recognizable symbol. Not only should there be a head, 
body, arms, and legs but also some active knowledge of the various 
features. The eyes should be different from the nose, the symbol for nose 
should be different from that for the mouth, and there should be hair 

, -^ 



■ ■"Si-'-i:- lii xL *•?/ '^ It" 

Figure 38. "My Family," drawn by a seven-year-old boy. Here a schema is repeated 
for each member of the family. 

and even an awareness of neck. Usually, the child includes separate sym- 
bols for hands and even fingers, and of course a different symbol for feet. 
Often clothing is drawn instead of the body, but the average schema for a 
seven-year-old should include most of these items. The schema still con- 
sists of geometric lines — lines which when separated from the whole lose 
their meaning. Sometimes ovals, triangles, squares, circles, rectangles, or 
irregular shapes are used as schema for the body, though all kinds of 
shapes are used for legs, arms, clothes, and so forth. In Figure 38, "My 
Family," notice how the boy repeats his schema for each member of his 
family. It is quite clear in the human schema that a child is not attempting 
to copy a visual form, but rather the child's concept is arrived at by a 
combination of many factors: his process of thinking, his awareness of 
his own feelings, and his development of perceptual sensitivities. The 
human schema is therefore highly individualized and can be looked at 
as a reflection of the development of an individual. 


The great discovery during this age level is that there is a definite 
order in space relationships. The child no longer thinks, "There is a tree, 
there is a man, there is a car," without relating them to one another 



as he has done during the preschematic stage. A child now thinks, "I 
am on the ground, the car is on the ground, the grass grows on the 
ground, mud is on the ground, we are all on the ground." This first 
conscious awareness that a child is part of his environment is expressed 
by a symbol which we shall call base line. From now on this conscious- 
ness, which includes all objects in a common space relationship, is ex- 
pressed by putting everything on this important base line (see Figure 39). 
We can speak of a schema when the representation of an object or of 
space has become established through repetition. What we have discussed 
about the human figure is very largely true of the schematic representa- 
tion of objects and space. The schema can originate in visual or in non- 
visual experiences. In other words, the schema might be determined by 
how a child sees something, the emotional significance he attaches to it, 
his kinesthetic experience with or touch impression of the object, or how 
the object functions or behaves. It is important to keep in mind that we 
speak of a space schema when space is represented by some signs or 
other which, through repetition, assume a consistent meaning in the draw- 
Figure 39. "Picking Flowers." The importance of 
the hands is stressed. Notice how everything is or- 
ganized along a base line. 

Plate 3. "I Am Standing in My Back Yard," painted by a six- 
and-a-hal£-year-old girl. Notice the first signs of color-object re- 
lationships. The child has painted herself much larger than the 
tree. The relative sizes show the importance of the ego at this 
stage of dcNclopincnt. 

Plate 4. "Li^luning .ind Rain," drawn by a seven- 
year-olil girl. The color-object relationship is so 
rirmly established that the sky remains blue in spite 
of the rain. See how the exaggerated hands grasp 
the umbrella, and that it remains dry underneath. 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 143 

ings of a child. At this stage of development the child has not developed 
an awareness of the representation of a three-dimensional quality of space. 
We find, therefore, that the schema is usually a representation of two 
dimensions. Occasionally some abstract lines are substituted for depth, 
but the biggest discovery is that there is a definite order in spatial rela- 
tionships. It is quite clear that the space schema is almost entirely abstract 
and has only an indirect connection with nature as adults know it. 

Deviations from the Schema — Expression of 
Subjective Experiences 

If we accept the schema as the concept of man and environment at 
which the child has arrived, then every deviation has special importance 
according to its origin and its meaning. From an understanding of the 
origin and meaning of the deviations in their various forms we can gain 
insights into the child's experience. Three principal forms of deviations 
can be noticed in children's drawings: (1) exaggeration of important 
parts, (2) neglect or omission of unimportant or suppressed parts, and 
(3) change of symbols for emotionally significant parts. It should be 
understood that exaggeration and neglect refer to size only, whereas the 
change of symbols refers to their shapes. Needless to say, all these char- 
acteristics refer to the way in which adults see them. Children are not 
conscious of these exaggerations, for as Barkan says, "Children do not 
overstate; rather they create size relationships which are 'real' to them."" 
The origin of such deviations lies either in autoplastic experiences (that 
is, the feelings of the bodily self or muscular sensations), in the relative 
importance of specific parts, or in the emotional significance the particular 
part has for the child. 

An interesting piece of work that displays many types of deviations in 
a single drawing is shown in Figure 40fl. Here we see a schematic repre- 
sentation of a man that the child drew when simply asked to draw a man. 
Thus, in this drawing no intentional experiences are represented; rather, 
it is the form concept of a man at which the child has arrived and which 
he repeats again and again whenever he is asked to draw a man. In 
comparing this schema with the drawing "Searching for the Lost 
Pencil" (Figure 40^), we see clearly the deviations and the experiences 
these deviations express. In this lower picture the arms and the hands 
are the main vehicles of expression, and by means of them the theme is 


symbolized. The intense experience of searching and of groping about 
after the pencil is expressed by the different emphasis and exaggeration 
of the arm, and by changes in the shape of the symbol for hand. The 
enormously lengthened groping arm in the first figure shows how the 
representation has been modified by the experience of reaching. "With 
this hand I have just found the pencil." The arms show a double line 
indicating their special functional importance. Compare this with the 
schema in the picture above. Notice, too, the enormously exaggerated 
pencil, showing the emotional importance it had for the child when he 
found it. 

"With this hand I put it in my pocket," the child says, and points to 
one of the arms of the second figure which, in fact, represents the same 
figure as the first one. The arm putting the pencil into the pocket is 
now far less emphasized and is represented by a single line only; the 
second arm of the figure, no longer having a function, has shriveled to a 
mere stump. The pencil has been reduced in size now that it has been 
found and has lost its special significance. 

Another experience originating in bodily sensations is also quite obvi- 
ously shown. The left figure in the lower drawing is supposed to be bent 
forward, and this is expressed by means of shorter legs and a lowered 
head. But when the head is bent forward, blood accumulates in it, and 
we become more intensely aware of it. This is expressed in the drawing 
by an exaggeration of the size of the bent head. The figure on the right 
is standing upright while putting the pencil in his pocket, and since the 
sensation of bending down is no longer important, the head and the neck 
diminish in size and the figure looks more like the schema represented 
above. We might also speculate that the introduction of a base line in the 
lower drawing might be caused because of the awareness that the pencil 
is on the floor and therefore a representation of the floor becomes im- 

We have here an example of a very natural form of expression at this 
age. Although the child has arrived at a definite schema for a person, 
this schema is transformed in the act of creation. Furthermore, it shows 
that disproportions nearly always result from some definite intention or 
experience, though this does not mean that the experience is necessarily 
conscious. We therefore have no right to speak of "false proportions," since 
such a judgment is determined by an adult visual attitude, the attitude 
of objectively representing the environment. On the contrary, it is only 
when we understand the reasons for these apparent disproportions that 

Figure 40a. "A Man." Figure 40b. "Searching for the Lost Pencil." Figure 40a 
is the child's schema, used when no particular experience was portrayed. In Figure 
40b, notice how the schema has been changed to show how the child looked for and 
found the pencil. 


we are able to penetrate into the true basis of creativeness. Since the child 
is not aware of making exaggerations or omitting parts, correcting such 
expression would only mean changing a true and sincere feeling to an 
imposed rigid form. Measuring and comparing the size of body parts is 
obviously meaningless to the child. Naturalistic tendencies and concep- 
tions, therefore, have little place in children's drawings. The child is 
intimately bound up with the experience of the self, and he experiences 
his world subjectively. 

The Psychological Importance of the Schema 

We have said that the drawing reflects the child's total being; the 
emergence of a definite schema has many implications and can give an 
understanding adult some valuable insights into the child's development. 
The child no longer represents objects in relation to himself but now 
begins to represent objects in some logical relationship one to another. A 
child of five will draw a house or a tree or a toy in juxtaposition with- 
out any objective order. Now, however, the child includes himself in his 
concept in the same way he includes the tree, the house, or the whole 
environment. This first common experience of space — "I am on the street, 
the house is on the street, John is on the street" — is sometimes a most 
decisive factor in the psychological development of the child. His attitude 
now changes from a completely egocentric attitude, and this is reflected 
not only in his drawings but also in his total development. The child 
seeks to find order in his environment and to develop formulas for proper 
behavior.'^ These often make no sense to an adult but often become very 
important in a child's life. Most of us can remember some of these laws 
governing our behavior at this age, such as avoiding stepping on the crack 
in the sidewalk for fear of dire consequences, or performing some private 
ritual if two children said the same thing at the same time, or touching 
every desk in the row before sitting down, to insure good luck. These laws 
and rules for behavior make a schema of sorts in another area of the 
child's development. 

The development of the schema also signifies a change from a com- 
pletely egocentric attitude to a more cooperative attitude. The differences 
between these two stages can easily be seen by observing children in a 
kindergarten and then comparing their behavior with children in second 
grade. Kindergarten children play and work together only when urged 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 147 

to do so. In freedom they will generally follow their own directions. One 
child will be going in one direction imitating a train, another child will 
be sitting self-concerned in a chair, whereas a third will be playing in 
the sand, scarcely noticing the others. Their conversation will also be 
ego-involved. Although they apparently will be talking to one another, 
they neither listen to, nor apparently expect a reply from, those near them. 
Their talk is usually tied up with their own play and seems to be more 
concerned with explaining what is going on to themselves rather than to 
others. This is clearly indicated, as we have seen, in the spatial concept 
of children during this age. However, when the schema develops and 
we see a definite order in space, the child begins to relate to others, and 
sees himself as part of the environment. It is fairly obvious that before the 
development of the schema is not a time for cooperative games, and an 
awareness of others and others' feelings will not be understood. It may be 
that a tremendous amount of time is wasted at the kindergarten level in 
trying to maintain order and quiet, since true learning is apparently taking 
place when a child is expressing himself, whether others are listening or 
not. At this egocentric age it is most important to converse with one's self 
and with one's own expression, whereas during the schematic stage the 
ability to share and understand others' feelings is beginning to develop. 

The introduction of the base line in the schema has other important 
implications for the understanding of children. Since a child can now 
see logical relationships between objects in his environment, it is possible 
to begin to think of a meaningful reading program. For instance, in read- 
ing, this very same correlation is necessary in relating letters to one an- 
other in order to form a word symbol. Pushing a child into a reading 
program before he is ready may build negative attitudes toward reading; 
these are difficult to erase and cannot be counterbalanced by any advantage 
in making a child conform to an arbitrary time schedule. His thought 
processes at this time are also less ego-involved, and he is therefore ready 
to accept and be curious about meanings of objects and words outside 

The child's particular schema is uniquely his. We can readily tell the 
drawings of one child from those of another just by looking at the sche- 
matic representations. One child may have a very meager schema while 
another child may have a rich concept of his environment. Observing 
these differences can provide us a deeper understanding of a child's sensi- 
tivity to, and awareness of, his environment. As we have said before, the 
type of representation a child achieves depends largely upon psychological, 


biological, and environmental factors, and the stimulation the child has 
received. It is then possible to assume that a child with a rich schema 
will be one who has developed a greater active awareness and a greater 
interaction with his surroundings. Hopefully, this is an area in which art 
education can play an important role; we will discuss this at greater length 
later in this chapter. The opinion that the profile represents a more ad- 
vanced stage in a child's creative concept is, according to experiments, 
incorrect. Apparently, for some children the symmetry of the body, the 
two arms, the two legs, the two eyes, the two ears, is of most importance. 
In some cases the side-view, or profile, concept is the first schema. As 
we see in Figure 40, some schemata can have a mixed profile and front 
view, which includes a representation of two eyes and profile nose. The 
schema still consists of geometric lines, which when separated from the 
whole, lose their meaning. It becomes obvious that during this mental 
age the child derives his schema from many sources, with visual ex- 
periences playing a minor role. 

The Origin of the Base Line 

The base line is a very interesting phenomenon in children's drawings, 
and since it is universal, it can be considered as much a part of the 
natural development of children as learning to run or skip. The base line 
appears as an indication of the child's conscious relationship between him- 
self and environment. He places everything on this base line; this line 
can apparently represent not only the ground on which objects stand but 
can represent a floor, street, or any base upon which a child is standing. 

It is c|uite obvious that in nature neither objects nor persons standing 
on the ground are in actuality standing upon a line. That is why we can 
state that a base line cannot have its origin in visual experiences. When 
questioned, children invariably identify this base line as being the ground. 
A counterpart to the base line appears in drawings as a sky line. This is 
usually drawn at the top of the page and the space between this and the 
base line is identified by children as being air (see Figure 39). As adults 
we usually think of the sky in pictures as coming down to ground level; 
however, this is actually an optical illusion. Not only does the sky never 
actually meet the ground, but of course there is no tangible sky, only an 
accumulation of air over a dark background. The concept of the sky 
above, ground below, and air between is just as valid as our concept that 
the sky and ground meet. Both are illusions. 


The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 149 

In creative products of primitive stages of mankind we often see the 
base line used as a means of indicating motion. Australian drawings 
made on the bark of trees or drawings by arctic tribes use the base line 
to indicate motion. It may be that the origin of the base line is the 
kinesthetic experience of moving along a line. The use of the base line 
is very apparent in the art of more advanced cultures, such as in the 
carvings on the tombs in ancient Egypt, or on the vase decorations in 
ancient Greece. In the latter two instances pictorial matter was arranged 
on a line in a storytelling fashion. If children use their art as communica- 
tion, it may be natural to think of objects coming one after another on a 
line. From the play of our early childhood we know, too, that we fre- 
quently connect the experience of moving with the thought of going 
along a line. 


When a child is drawing or painting an outdoor picture, the base line 
is used at one time to symbolize the base on which things stand and at 
another time to characterize the surface of the landscape. In the painting 
in Figure 41 one base line symbolizes the level ground while another base 

Figure 4L "I Am Climbing a Hill," painted by a seven-year-old boy. The upper 
base line is bent, representing the experience of walking up and down the hill. 

Figure 42. "Fruit Harvest." The child has used two base 
lines to represent the orchard. 

represents the mountain. Apparently the child wishes to indicate that this 
second base line is elevated over the plain and represents the surface 
character of the landscape. It can readily be seen that the mountain is still 
meant as a base line from the fact that the flowers stand perpendicularly 
to the mountain. Even the figure is bound to its base line. We can realize 
this experience most clearly if we consider the base line to be a length of 
wire, a straight wire with flowers attached to it. If we bend the wire 
according to the kinesthetic experience of going up and down, the flowers 
attached to the wire stand out perpendicularly as we see them in this 
drawing. Clearly, it is not the shape of the mountain that is of significance 
but the line itself, which goes up and down. 

If we look at the illustration in Figure 42, entitled "Fruit Harvest," we 
will see two base lines representing an orchard. The child himself is shown 
on the lower part of the paper picking apples off a tree. Above him is the 
sky and above that another base line upon which his father appears driv- 
ing a wagon full of apples. Notice the schema the child has for apple 
tree. Notice also the size of the apples on the tree as compared to the size 
of the apples in the basket. This becomes almost a poetic form of ex- 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 151 

pression: the things the child longs for loom large in his mind, and 
the apples take on great importance on the tree, but once they are in the 
basket they become less important. One can get a real feeling for the 
freshness of children's expression from this, and it is this freshness many 
adult artists strive to achieve. The bird in the upper corner becomes im- 
portant, too, for apples pecked by a bird must be discarded. The showing 
of two base lines is a later development, and is a step toward perspec- 
tive as we know it in drawings. However, this is strictly a two-dimensional 
representation, as can clearly be seen by the fact that the sky is represented 
in both halves of the painting. Children rarely draw anything that is not 
directly related to this base line, even if two or more base lines appear 
in one picture. A better understanding of "Fruit Harvest" may be had 
by seeing the top portion as a more distant row of trees in the orchard, 
beyond the lower or closer trees. In this picture everything functions and 
has meaning. The child wanted to say, "There is an orchard," therefore 
he is not satisfied by merely drawing one tree. "The apples on the tree 
are the most beautiful ones, because I want them, but I have picked some 
into the basket. I am just now reaching for one. Those in the basket are 
no longer single apples, they are the dozens of apples I have collected. 
Daddy is carrying them to town. He is going away, therefore he needs a 
distance. Birds are pecking on the apples. We don't want the birds." All 
this gives the whole story of the feeling of the child. We can also see how 
the child related himself actively to his environment. He is on the ground, 
the basket is on the ground, the apples are in the basket, the tree is on the 
ground; and farther away, the wagon is on the ground, the horse is 
on the ground, and the bird is in the air with the sky above. The con- 
sciousness that signifies the child's understanding not only of himself but 
also the significance the environment has for him is the awakening of 
the total being. 

Other Means of Space Representation 

Although the base line is the most common means used by children 
to represent space in their drawings and paintings, occasionally an emo- 
tional experience forces a child to deviate from this type of schema. We 
shall refer to these as subjective space representations. The frequently 
used process of folding over belongs to this category of subjective space 
representations. By folding over we mean the process of creating a space 

Figure 43, "Norfolk Ferry," painted by an eight-year-old boy. This painting is an 
example of representing space by "folding over." 

concept by drawing objects perpendicularly to the base line, even when 
these objects appear to be drawn upside down. 

The illustration in Figure 43 is a typical painting by a child which 
shows the process of folding over. Here we see that the child has de- 
picted himself as waving to the ferry. After the child drew himself waving 
with his handkerchief, standing on one side of the bay, he decided to 
draw the boat. "What kind of nonsense is this.? This child cannot be 
normal, he drew the boat upside down." It isn't upside down; indeed not. 
This child was leaning on the floor and after drawing himself on one 
side of the base line, he walked around his paper and drew the other 
side of the bay and the ferryboat. You can even see where the ferryboat 
is landing. This concept can best be understood if we fold the paper along 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 153 

the base line on which the boy is standing. We then get the experience 
of the child standing upright and facing the boat. If we fold the other 
side of the bay upright also, we get a model of the scene and we suddenly 
realize the interesting concept of the two skies, one at the bottom and the 
other at the top of the paper. Now both skies are folded up. This type 
of representation might be what we would do if we were asked to make 
a diagram of both sides of a room. On this side there are four windows 
and so we draw them, and then for the other side of the room we diagram 
the wall on the bottom of the page. Actually this is a very valid concept, 
since the child wanted to draw both sides of the bay simultaneously be- 
cause both sides have significance for his concept. Basically, the subjective 
experience of a child was that of being in the center of the scene, seeing 
one shore to the left and the other to the right. This experience shows 
very clearly that it is of great advantage to have children work on the 
floor or on low tables, on which the drawing or painting can be ap- 
proached from all directions. In Figure 44, "I Say 'Hello' to My Friend 
on the Other Side of the Street," this principle of folding over is used to 
show the opposite sides of the street. This was drawn by a nine-year-old 
partially blind boy. 

Figure 44. "I Say 'Hello' to My Friend on the Other Side of the Street." The chil- 
dren often called to each other at the street crossing. Here the base lines are at the 
edges of the paper, in contrast with their location in Figure 43. 

\ I 

Figure 45. "On the Seesaw," painted by a nine-year-old boy. The kin- 
esthetic experience of going up and down determined the spatial concept. 

Another type of deviation is when a child who usually uses the base 
line drops the lines altogether. As we said before, the emotional experi- 
ence can be so strong that it overpowers the feeling of being connected 
with the ground. The painting in Figure 45, "On the Seesaw," is a typical 
example of such a drawing, in which the child's feeling of being a part 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 155 

of the environment was overpowered by his emotional feeling of swing- 
ing up and down. The sensation of this kinesthetic experience determined 
the spatial concept. The boy shows himself way up near the sky and sun. 
His emotions are visibly expressed by the exaggerated size of his body 
as well as by his facial expression; the mouth is wide open. "My older 
sister lifted me up so high," he said. Although this indicates that his older 
sister was at least heavy enough to lift him up high, because of his own 
subjective experience he has exaggerated his own size and made his sister 
seem much smaller. Since the sister was sitting opposite, the boy painted 
her seemingly upside down. In reality this is his subjective view and can 
be better understood if we fold the representation of the boy and his sister 
up so that they appear to be sitting on the ends of the seesaw itself. We 
then again realize what a marvelous space concept the child has created 
through the power of his subjective feelings. 

Another important aspect of subjective space experiences results in 
drawings with a mixture of plan and elevation. The painting "Playing 
Checkers" in Figure 46, by a seven-year-old boy, shows the checkerboard 

Figure 46. "Playing Checkers," painted by a seven-year-old boy. The 
checkerboard is shown in top view because of its significance. 

i I 1 M I I i I : I I ! ' 1,' ?? , I ; : I I j^ ^ ; ( | | | | j | 1 !.■ 

V- i 

Figure 47, "Amusement Island," drawn by an eight-year- 
old boy. The boy had gone around the island in a rowboat. 

folded over because of its significance. Since the child was emotionally 
bound up with the playing of checkers, he had to show the full checker- 
board. The table, however, would not be a table if it did not have legs. 
So the child drew a table with legs and, when necessary, folded over the 
top of the table to show its significance, thus mixing plan and elevation 
in one drawing. Another drawing of great interest, which shows the same 
type of experience, is "Amusement Island" (see Figure 47). The child 
visited an island on which were all types of amusement, people playing 
cards, hot-dog stands, and so forth. There were boats for rent, and in 
such a boat the child took a ride around the island. The drawing shows a 
top view of the island, since it was important to show that water sur- 
rounds the land. Everything is standing out of the island; that is why 
all objects on the island are represented in side view. Since the child took 
a ride around the island in a boat, it was important that this be portrayed. 
Here it seems as if the four edges of the paper have become four separate 
base lines. It is not unusual to see all four sides of a house portrayed at 
one time, nor to see all four wheels drawn on an automobile. It is quite 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 157 

clear that a child can include a great deal within his paintings, which 
are a direct reflection of his subjective experiences. There is obviously 
nothing wrong with these representations. We should appreciate them and 
their poetic quality, for the sensitive adult can gain great insight and 
understanding about the child's relationship to his world by becoming 
more involved in the meaning of his creative expression. 


By space and time representations we mean the inclusion in one draw- 
ing of different time sequences or of spatially distinct impressions. Just 
as a child has his own way of showing two- and three-dimensional objects, 
sometimes by using plan and elevation at the same time, so he has his 
own way of showing events that occur in different time sequences. Ap- 
parently children have two different reasons for developing these space 
and time representations, and an understanding of these is important 
because they can provide a rich source for motivation. 

One method of space-time representation arises out of the urge for 
communication. A child likes to listen to and tell stories. This is one 
reason why we find different episodes represented by different pictures 
in one sequence of drawings. The pictures may be separate, like those 
in a comic book, although they may not be divided by a line. Journeys, 
trips, travel episodes, or other events that require a sequence of time be- 
long in this type of representation. In such topics usually the most im- 
portant events are described. Separate pictures characterize a complex 
event, so the topic of the series is usually the same. 

Another manner of space-time representation has its origin in the emo- 
tional involvement with the representation and in the act of drawing it- 
self. Here we see distinct actions that have taken place at various times 
but are represented within one drawing space. This does not spring from 
the desire to communicate something but from the importance of the 
action itself. This emotional involvement diminishes the child's conscious- 
ness of time to such an extent that he is not aware of representing different 
time phases in one drawing. He is concerned only with expressing within 
one drawing what he considers most characteristic about the action, in 
much the same way as alternations between plan and elevation are used 
to express what is most characteristic about an object. In the one case 
distinct time spaces, in the other distinct spatial impressions, are fused and 
used for characterization. In Figure 48 we see a boy in his house, sup- 
posedly upstairs getting ready for school. One drawer in the dresser must 


have special meaning, for it has been drawn darker. Notice the stairs 
going down to the dining room; they are drawn as he experienced them 
and not in the usual adult side-view representation. The breakfast bowls 
are on the table downstairs and have been folded up so that we can look 
into them. Turning back to Figure 38 and comparing the human schema, 
we can easily see that these drawings were made by the same boy, al- 
though actually several weeks apart. (An ironic note is the rubber stamp 
of a dog under the drawing of the boy himself. Apparently these stamps 
were available in the classroom for the less "artistic" youngsters to use.) 
It is important to realize that in these space and time representations 
the picture is confined to a single sequence of action or sequence of move- 
ments. Placing the various aspects next to one another in one space is 
merely a method of portraying the distinctive qualities of a particular 
experience. For a typical example of this type of expression refer again 
to Figure 40, the drawing entitled "Searching for the Lost Pencil." We 
are referring now only to the content of this drawing, which deals with 
the expression of different time sequences within one space. The figure 

Figure 48. In "Getting Ready for School," what appears to be a bent 
ladder is the stairway connecting the bedroom with the dining room, so 
that upstairs and downstairs appear to be on the same level. 

,^ '1 V) m 



The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 159 

on the left both is looking for and has found the pencil. The child used 
the next figure to express putting the pencil into his pocket with one 
hand, and the other hand shows clearly that it no longer has any func- 
tion. In other words, by means of two figures he represented four dif- 
ferent time phases. In a sense he could have given one figure four arms, 
as has been done in medieval manuscripts, but this would have contra- 
dicted his concept of a man. He was emotionally so tied up with the 
content that it overpowered his feeling for reality. The experience he had 
with all the phases — searching for the pencil, finding the pencil, picking 
it up, and putting it in his pocket — made him draw all these aspects. 

In the section on motivation we shall see that we can use our under- 
standing about the origins of space and time representations to great ad- 
vantage in education. 


A child uses another most interesting nonvisual way of representation 
to show difTerent views that could not possibly be perceived visually at 
the same time. He depicts the inside and outside of a building or other 
enclosure simultaneously. This can be seen whenever the inside is of 
greater importance for the child than is the outside of the structure. In 
the very same way as the child depicts plan and elevation at the same time 
to show significant "views," while apparently unaware of the impossi- 
bility of such a visual concept, he mixes up the inside and outside con- 
cepts within his drawing. Sometimes if the child becomes so bound up 
with the inside, he will completely "forget" that there is an outside and 
drop this outside altogether. Frequently, however, part of the inside and 
part of the outside are shown together as if the outside were transparent. 

The child reacts in his drawings more toward the self-involvement in 
what is being portrayed than toward the visual characteristics of his 
subject matter. This is extremely important for education. It shows very 
definitely that the adult concept of surface phenomena is not the concept 
of a child. Educationally, we can then understand what stands out in the 
child's thinking, and we have a great opportunity to utilize this knowl- 
edge in integrating other fields into creative activities. 

A group of children visited a factory in which they were shown the 
manufacture of a product from a raw material kept in the basement to 
the finished product on the upper floor. When the children were asked 
to draw this experience, most of them developed a complete "plan" of the 
factory. The front wall was eliminated and the views of the different 

Figure 49. "Coal Mine," painted by a nine-year-old girl. This X-ray 
picture shows both inside and outside representations. 

floors showed the different important working stages, which had been 
discussed and experienced. Since the front of the building stood in the 
way cf communicating its function as a factory, it was eUminated. The 
workuig stages, now actively in the minds of the children, had become a 
part of each child's knowledge and experience and could readily be 

In Figure 49 the illustration "Coal Mine" shows an X-ray representa- 
tion in which the inside and outside are shown according to their sig- 
nificance. The child realized the significance of the mine shaft and 
tunnels. She became absorbed in the interior of the mine and how the 
coal is produced. It is interesting to note that the mountain surface is 
treated like a bent base line, with the house and trees placed perpendicu- 
larly to it. It is not surprising to find that the child was a daughter of a 
coal miner and that she lived in a company house near the mine. This 
expression of inside and outside is the mixing of two distinct impressions, 
which are expressed in one space. 

We have seen how the pictorial representations of children follow laws 
of their own that have nothing to do with "naturalistic" laws. An aware- 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 161 

ness of the variety and an understanding of the meanings of these devia- 
tions give us a greater sensitivity to the inner thought processes of children. 
In some cases the subjective space representations may look confusing or 
incomprehensible. Although a child should never be expected to justify or 
interpret a painting, most children are more than eager to discuss their 
involvement in the experience that motivated the picture. A sympathetic 
and understanding adult can learn a great deal about the meaningfulness 
of these activities by showing an interest in how and what a child thinks. 

The Meaning of Color 

The child naturally discovers that there is a relationship between color 
and object. It is no longer his subjective experience, or emotional rela- 
tionship, that determines color. In all spheres of the child's development 
we see the awakening process of such a consciousness. In the drawing 
of the human figure the child has arrived at a definite concept, crystalized 
in the schema. In representing space, the child has experienced himself as 
part of the environment, and has developed definite space relationships. 
Also in color the child has discovered such a definite relationship. A new 
awareness of the relationship of man to his environment makes the child 
realize that there is a relationship between color and object. Just as the 
child repeats again and again his schema for a man, or for space, he also 
repeats the same colors for the same objects. 

We should understand that the establishment of a definite color for an 
object and its constant repetition is a direct reflection of the continuing 
development of the child's thinking processes. The child has begun to 
think in abstract terms, and to be able to formulate and generalize. "What 
color is the sky?" "Why, the sky is blue!" "What color is grass?" "Why, 
the grass is green!" To the visually aware adult the answers might be 
quite different, depending upon whether it is a hazy day or a stormy sky, 
or whether the grass is dry and brittle or fresh from a spring rain. To 
the child, however, the mere establishment of a definite relationship be- 
tween color and object is a satisfying experience. He has begun to find 
some logical order in the world and is establishing concrete relationships 
with things around him (see Plate 3). 

It is important to realize that although there are common colors used 
by most children for particular objects, each child has developed his own 
color relationships. The origin of the individual's color schema might be 


found in a visual or emotional concept of color. Apparently the first 
meaningful relationship that the child has with an object can determine 
his color schema. If the child's relationship to the ground was first estab- 
lished on a muddy back yard, and through repetition this space experi- 
ence has become firmly established, then ground will be brown, regardless 
of whether there is grass over it or not. This established color schema 
will not change unless the child becomes personally involved in an ex- 
perience in which a change in color becomes important. Therefore, in 
the same way as we have seen deviations in space or deviations in form 
concepts, changes in the color schema will give us insight into the mean- 
ingful experiences of the child. 

In looking at Plate 3, "I Am Standing in My Back Yard," we can see 
that the child has established definite color-object relationships. Notice 
that the eyes, lips, hair, and also the grass, tree, and sky have been painted 
in a very direct bold color that seems to indicate that the child "knows" 
the color of these objects. Plate 4, "Lightning and Rain," is drawn with 
crayon. Notice that the sky retains its blue color although it is raining. 
Criticism of the use of color in these two pictures would only be upsetting 
to the children. Also a happy accident that may stimulate an adult to see 
new color forms where colors accidentally run into one another can be 
very frustrating to a child who is establishing definite color relationships. 
Not only is the child unable to capitalize on these accidental happenings, 
but he does not have the need or observational powers to relate these 
interesting color patterns to color patterns one might see in the sky, for 
example. For the child such accidental happenings are just mistakes. Once 
we have understood the important meaning of repetition within the 
psychological development of the child, we can then understand why the 
establishment of a definite color for definite objects is so important. 

The Meaning of Design 

From our discussion we realize that a child has no concern for any 
formal aspects of art. Art for him is chiefly a means of self-expression; 
he is not aware of the beauty in what he does, nor does he spontaneously 
decorate an object. However, adults can see many design qualities in what 
a child of this age paints or draws. A conscious approach, or the teaching 
of "fundamentals of design" during this period, would not only be an 
artificial adult imposition but could, under certain circumstances, destroy 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 163 

the spontaneous creativity. Or, as D'Amico says, one "factor responsible 
for weakening the child's native sense of design is the nature of teaching 
design, the imposing of fixed formulas on the child, now in general 

How does this native or innate sense of design show itself? Often adults 
show a great deal of interest in this natural sense of the child, although 
this was not true one hundred years ago. Today it is obvious that a new 
freshness and directness in expression has become important in the adult 
art world, and the same freshness and directness can be seen in the 
drawings of children during this schematic stage. One of the important 
attributes of design is rhythm, and this rhythm is often seen in children's 
paintings in the repetition of form. Looking over drawings or paintings 
by children of this age will quickly show that the way children deal with 
space contributes greatly to this achievement of "design." Yet all this is 
natural to the child as part of his development. It is his innate space 
concept and his innate desire for repeating forms or schemata that makes 
the child an "innate designer." Surely an adult can be an intuitive artist 
without knowing it. The child is such an intuitive designer; but the 
difference lies in the fact that the artist may gain through a conscious ap- 
proach and the child can only be disturbed through it, because this con- 
sciousness is something strange to him, something that lies beyond his 
comprehension. The teaching of formal aspects of proportion would be 
detrimental to the spontaneity and freedom typical of children's drawings, 
because they would interfere with the innate urge for expression. Formal 
elements like balance and rhythm, if used as a guide or as a motivation, 
miss the purpose. Although an adult may get satisfaction in teaching 
design qualities, so as to develop beautiful drawings, it is quite apparent 
that this would be most harmful to the free development of a child. 

The Importance of Clay 

Clay is not just another material. Since it is three-dimensional, it stimu- 
lates another kind of thinking. A material is wisely used only if it fulfills 
the purpose for which it is intended. As long as the same thing can be 
done better in a different medium, then this particular material is not 
the best one. Thus, nothing should be done in clay if it could better be 
painted, and nothing should be painted if it could be done better in clay; 
nothing should be done in clay or paint if it could best be done with 


Figure 50. In the synthetic 
method of modeling (left), 
single pieces are put together. 
In the analytic method of 
modeling (right), single parts 
are pulled out from the whole 

wood. Therefore, it is important that the material selected suit the type 
of expression. 

The real nature of clay is its plasticity. Because of this plasticity clay 
can be used most advantageously with children who have developed con- 
cepts, for the very nature of the material will necessitate the flexible use 
of these concepts. The function of a three-dimensional plastic material 
lies in its adaptability to a constant and continual changing of form. 
Whereas a drawing demands a simultaneous concept of one event (with 
the exception of the space-time representations), the process of modeling 
with clay permits a constant change. Figures can be added or taken away 
or changed in their position and shape. This is the big advantage in using 
clay. Therefore, it is important that this opportunity to include action 
within the art experience be included in any motivation. Of course, these 
actions should be related directly to the child's experience. Environment 
should be avoided because it has the same three-dimensional quality as 
the material itself. Distance and space in nature would compete with 
distance and space in clay, the result of which would be small scale models 
of objects, and the child's own feeling and reactions to his environment 
would not be stimulated. The making of small models is not a creative 


activity but the development of a technical skill and has no place at this 
age level. However, objects of the immediate environment that have sig- 
nificance to the child may at times be included spontaneously. An example 
of this might be a child who models a picnic scene and actually develops 
the effect of visitors coming and sitting down by moving the figures and 
bending them in the sitting position until the final expression is achieved. 
Or children sometimes actually move an arm up to the position of eating 
when this is the desired representation. 

Two diflferent modes of expression can be observed, each of which exists 
in its own right. One is that of "pulling out from the whole" and the 
other is that of "putting single representative symbols together into a 
whole." In Figure 50 we have two examples of work in clay showing 
these two different modes of expression. Since both methods reveal dif- 
ferent kinds of thinking, it would be disturbing and of the greatest dis- 
advantage to a child to be diverted from his own method of thinking. 
Pulling the clay out from the whole means to have a concept of the total, 
however vague, from which details will be developed. This method of 
pulling out the single details from the whole is called the analytic method. 
Since this type of thinking is psychologically the same as that applied 


when observing or seeing things, we can assume that the thinking under- 
lying this method is basically visual, although at this stage this type of 
thinking is not applied on a conscious level. That is why the creative 
product is still made up of representative symbols, form symbols that lose 
their significance when detached from the whole. 

The other method of expression described as putting single representa- 
tive symbols together into a whole means that the child is building up a 
synthesis out of partial impressions. Because the child arrives at a synthesis 
by putting single details together, we call this method the synthetic 
method. Since this type of thinking does not refer to observation, we 
assume that this type of thinking derives from nonvisual experiences. 
These nonvisual experiences can be of many different origins. They can 
refer to body experiences as well as to the activation of passive knowledge. 
Pulling out or putting together is not merely a superficial means of 
achieving a form, but is deeply rooted in the child's thinking. We shall 
go into a discussion of these two types of thinking in a later chapter. 
However, it is important at this point to state that no change should be 
made in the child's normal mode of expression, for although few children 
think in a completely analytic or synthetic fashion, any diversion from 
one method to another may only block the child's thinking. 

Art Motivation 

The kind and type of motivation a teacher should use during the dif- 
ferent age levels grows out of the need of the children during each par- 
ticular stage of development. We have seen that, during the schematic 
stage, the child has formed a definite concept of man, space, color, and 
objects in all areas of art expression and in his psychological development 
as a whole. This definite concept, through repetition, has become the 

The task of the teacher is to give the child an opportunity to use these 
concepts, not as rigid form symbols but as living experiences. Our motiva- 
tion must create an atmosphere in which the child's consciousness of being 
a part of the environment is stimulated. In the same way we need to 
stimulate a greater awareness of the actions and functions of the human 
figure. The inclusion of actions in an orderly space concept will therefore 
be of greatest significance. Our motivations could be characterized by the 
words we (stimulating the consciousness of I and somebody else), action 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 167 

(meaning what we are doing), and where (referring to the actual descrip- 
tion of the place, restricted to the characteristics only and not to depth 
or distance). 

Knowing that it lies in the child's thinking to fuse time and space, it 
will be educationally and psychologically of advantage to use time and 
space stimuli. The motivation for these time and space representations 
should be concerned with subjective experiences such as hikes, trips, or 
personal experiences that include different time sequences. Later, there 
should be added stimulations that refer to objective reports, such as "How 
the Firemen Prepare for a Fire," or "How I Come to School," or "Our 
Trip to the Bakery." There are many topics appropriate for X-ray repre- 
sentations. Both the inside and the outside should be stressed in any 
motivation in this area. 

Of greatest importance, however, is the need for creating an atmos- 
phere that is strong and tense, and open and flexible to any suggestions 
from the child. Rigidity is the death of any creative method. Any moti- 
vation should make the child more sensitively aware of himself and of 
his environment, should develop and stimulate an intense desire to paint 
a meaningful picture, and should encourage the child to be flexible in his 
approach to both materials and subject matter. Every motivation should 
have an introduction, a point of culmination, and a concluding summary 
statement. So, when we introduce a topic such as "We Are Playing on the 
School Ground," we would begin with a general introduction. 

"When do you play? Didn't I just see you playing outside a short time 
ago? When do you usually play on the school grounds? When? Oh, 
during recess; oh, I see. Where do you play? Do you use the whole play- 
ground? What do you play? Do you just stand out there and look at 
each other? Oh, you play tag! Yes, I have played tag, too. How do you 
play this game? You have to run! Do you run fast? Do you keep your- 
self nice and straight and tall? You mean you can't run fast that way? 
Oh, you have to bend forward when you run; why do you bend forward? 
If you run fast you would fall on your back if you didn't lean for- 
ward? Johnny, show me how you run fast! Yes, you really do have to 
lean forward! If you leaned too far, what would happen? You would 
fall on your knee! Oh, some of the gravel even got stuck in your knee 
once — that made it all bloody; yes, I know it hurts. Sometimes your body 
wants to go faster than your legs can. If you didn't bend forward at all, 
you would fall backward and hurt your head. ... I guess it is better to 
hurt your knee than your head! How about your legs? Do you have both 



legs in front at the same time? No, that could only be a rabbit! You are 
right, we cannot jump like rabbits and go very fast. Couldn't both legs 
be on the ground at the same time? What happens when you run? Oh, 
one leg is in the air. Isn't that funny! One leg is in the air, did you ever 
think of that?" (In stimulating a greater awareness of the child's own 
actions you have also developed a flexibility within his schema for a man. 
The child can actually sense his legs and feet on the ground, so he has 
become personally involved in the motivation.) "Does everyone know 
how to play tag? Oh, we have all played tag! Let's paint how we play 
on the school grounds." 

It is important in any motivation such as this to be sure that each child 
is personally involved. However, there should be a wide range of topics 
so that the child has the opportunity to identify with his own particular 
interests. At this age we begin to find differences in the subjects drawn 
by boys and girls. Boys begin to show an interest in mechanical and 
vehicle representation (see Figure 51) while girls tend to develop interests 
in houses and animals. Each child should feel that the motivation was 
planned just for him. 

Figure 51. Mechanical features are often of great interest to 
boys at this stage of development. 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 169 

Subject Matter in Art 

The following suggested topics are presented only as a means of show- 
ing the direction our thinking should take when motivating children at 
this level. By no means are these topics to replace an exciting and intense 
motivation, but rather they are suggested as areas for this motivation. The 
more emotionally interested and involved the child becomes in any ex- 
perience, the better will be the development of his work. The following 
subject areas are divided into groups to point out some of the types of 
stimulation that are meaningful and educationally valuable to children 
at this developmental level. 

This first group is designed to make the child's form concepts func- 
tional. Action and the awareness of action will stress a flexible use of the 
schema. The tve, action, where should be an essential part of these topics. 

"Playing with My Friends on the School Ground" 

"Jumping over a Rope Held by Bob and John" 

"Pulling Myself High on the Playground Rings" 

"Playing Ball with My Friends" 

"Going to Church with Mother and Dad" 

"We Are Climbing a Mountain" 

"Doing an Errand for Mother" 

"Helping Plant a Garden" 

"We Are Sledding down a Hill" 

"We Are Skating on the Pond" 

"Climbing a Tree" 

"Saying Goodbye As I Go to School" 

The following group of topics provides an opportunity for using profile 
and front view. 

"Holding onto the Rope While Swinging" 

"Playing Checkers with My Friend" 

"Talking with My Mother and Father" 

"Eating Breakfast Across the Table from My Brother" 

"Holding an Umbrella in One Hand and My Books in the Other" 

"Watching a Parade Go By" 


The following group provides stimulation for a variety of space-time 

"How I Come to School" 
"We Eat in the School Cafeteria" 
"Our Trip to the Police Department" 
"When We Went to Visit the Farm" 
"We Helped Bake Bread" 

The following may give some suggestions for X-ray pictures. Again 
we need to remember that stimulations for topics of this nature should 
be characterized by the we, action, where. 

"My Parents and I Stay in a Hotel" 

"We Visit Different Floors of a Factory" 

"My Friends and I Explore a Cave" 

"My Stay in the Hospital" 

"We Visit a Cow-Barn and See the Hay Stored" 

"My Father and I Go Shopping in the Hardware Store" 

Just as we are interested in developing a flexible, functional use of the 
schema in terms of form, we are also interested in developing a flexible 
approach to color. Although it is obvious that some of these topic areas 
overlap, the following list may give some suggestions for particular refer- 
ence to color concepts. It is interesting to see how effective a motivation 
is by comparing the use of color after a particular motivation with the 
use of color before such motivation. 

"We Find Bright Colors in the Fall" 

"We Like to Play in the Rain" 

"The Workmen Are Painting Our House" 

"The New Grass in the Yard Is Beginning to Grow" 

"We Got Our New Shoes Covered with Mud" 

Another area of importance to consider for subject matter, is the private 
world of the child. This includes topics that have emotional significance 
to the child in the area of fantasy and dreams. When a child paints what 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 171 

is of deep concern to him, or reveals certain desires and conflicts, it should 
be remembered that any subject matter is acceptable. Although the teacher 
may show interest in the representations, under no conditions should any 
moral judgment be made about the content of these pictures. 

"The Time I Was Most Afraid" 

"Once I Had a Horrible Dream" 

"If I Could Do Anything I Wanted to Do for One Day" 

"I Make Believe I Am an Animal" 

"If I Were Teacher" 

One other area of subject matter that should be considered is the topic 
of the particular material itself. The principal reason for concentrating on 
the material itself is to insure that the child uses materials in a flexible 
fashion and has an opportunity to investigate their possibilities. Occasion- 
ally some children will use this nonrepresentational theme as a means of 
retreating from a creative expressive experience. This lack of involvement 
can be seen when children too often hide behind the phrase "I am just 
making a design." 

"Painting in Light and Dark Colors" 

"Making a Collage" 

"Making Tall Things with Holes out of Clay" 

"Making Things from Boxes and Colored Paper" 

"Using Crayons in Different Ways" 

"A Rough and Smooth Picture" 

Art Materials 

The selection of an art material, its relevance to a particuliar group of 
children and their needs at a particular time, and its preparation and 
handling are all important considerations. Any art material should facili- 
tate the self-expression of children and not be a stumbling block. When 
children have become eager to create after a meaningful motivation, the 
art materials should be ready for their use. How frustrating to get all 
excited about painting "How I Broke My Leg While Sledding" and then 


have to stand in line waiting for paints! Often the material can be pre- 
pared and distributed with the help of the children, and then the motiva- 
tion can take place in another part of the room. 

Three things are important with regard to developing techniques or 
methods of working with materials. First, the teacher should know that 
each child must develop his own techniques and that every "help" from 
the teacher in showing the child a "correct" technique will only mean 
restricting the child's individual approach. There are many ways of 
working with art materials; and, as mentioned above, time should be 
taken to explore many different ways of working with art materials. No 
child should be stopped in the middle of his expression to show him the 
"proper" way to hold a brush, use a crayon, or fill his paper. The teacher's 
job is to introduce the appropriate material at a time when a child is most 
ready to use it. 

Secondly, every material or technique must make its own contribution. 
If a task can be done in a different art material with a better effect, the 
wrong material has been used. Therefore, it is important that the teacher 
know the qualities of the material being used so that the best material 
will be used for any particular expression. 

Finally, the teacher should develop economy in the use of art materials. 
In some books on art education we find that many materials are intro- 
duced and used from the very beginning of childhood. At a time when 
the child is overwhelmed by his own creativity, when he is full of intui- 
tive power, too many different media may not only be wasteful but 
often prove distracting as well. 

The child at the age level from seven to nine years is not concerned 
with the representation of depth. What is most characteristic of this men- 
tal level is that the child has found a form, space, and color concept, 
which through repetition develops into his schema. At times these repeti- 
tions develop a designlike quality. It is of great importance that the child 
repeat the same colors for the same objects whenever he wishes to do so. 
An art material that does not afford the child the opportunity of experi- 
encing mastery or self-assurance is not a good medium for this develop- 
mental stage. The consistency and texture of poster paint or tempera serve 
this purpose best, but crayon or colored chalk can also be used successfully. 

There is no reason whatsoever for introducing water color at this stage. 
Water color is transparent, runs, and at times introduces many happy acci- 
dents. The transparency of water color serves best to paint atmosphere and 
landscape, but does not lend itself to repetition or to painting the designlike 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 173 

qualities so typical of this age. Since the child in his painting is more con- 
cerned with expressing his own ideas then with visual stimuli, these 
"happy accidents" turn into "sad disappointments." The child is striving 
for order and attempting to categorize his knowledge into a working 
form for functional patterning. Since we consider this feeling of mastery 
of prime importance for the psychological development of the child, we 
must not sacrifice these important gains to some happy incidents, regard- 
less of their beauty to adults. We shall see that at older age levels, when the 
urge for repetition is not important, water color will serve to inspire the 
child. It is quite apparent, then, that an art material should be selected 
because it is closely connected with the child's development, and should 
not be introduced merely for the purpose of changing a material. 

Larger paper can be used at this age, to give the child more freedom 
than smaller sheets provide. Since he has developed better coordination, 
and his arms have grown longer, the larger sheets may fit his needs 
better. Also, hair brushes can now be used along with bristle, since chil- 
dren have developed a greater awareness of detail. As has been said 
before, clay is an excellent means for three-dimensional expression. You 
may at some time hear that it is wise to discourage modeling by the 
"synthetic method" of putting details together, because such modeling 
cannot be fired in the kiln. Since we know that the process of creating is 
of greater importance than the final product, changing the creative con- 
cept of the child by discouraging his own method of working cannot be 
justified. It is true that such pieces cannot be fired easily because of the 
danger of air bubbles and because the parts may separate in the firing 
process, but it is absolutely an adult's concept that clay products made by 
children should be fired. Unless some adult has influenced a child's think- 
ing, there will be no request for firing these clay products. As our earlier 
discussion suggested, the two modes of modeling express a different kind 
of thinking. Changing the technique from synthetic to analytic work 
therefore means restricting the child in freedom of expression. 

There are, of course, a number of materials in addition to those men- 
tioned above, that can meet the needs of this age group. Colored paper, 
collage materials, paste and scissors, many natural materials such as twigs 
or pebbles, and even a large, fat, soft pencil can be used to advantage. 
Care should be taken to insure that the child has an opportunity for a 
depth of art experience and that new materials are not introduced just to 
stimulate the teacher. Ideally, art materials should provide the oppor- 
tunity for both a variety of experience and a depth of expression. 

A Discussion of the Meaning 
of the Schematic Stage 

Within any classroom we find a large range of individual differences. 
For example, it is not unusual in the area of intellectual development to 
have a second grade class composed of children whose intellectual quotient 
may range from 75 to 125. This means essentially that the mental age of 
these children will range from the six-year level to the ten-year level. We 
would also find a large range in physical differences. In looking at the 
drawings by children in this same second grade, we can also expect to 
find a comparable range of individual differences. A few drawings and 
paintings may be more typical of a ten-year-old. We have come to expect 
the child who is more developed intellectually to be in general more de- 
veloped physically. Since art is a reflection of a child's total development, 
we can expect his artistic achievements to follow the same general pattern. 

One of the indications for the child's growing intellect is his understand- 
ing of the world that surrounds him. This world may range from mean- 
ingful to meaningless for the child, depending upon his emotional 
relationship to it and his intellectual comprehension of it. Whether or not 
the world has become meaningful to the child partially depends upon the 
degree to which he has formulated his concepts. It is to be expected, then, 
that the child will express in his drawings a definite concept or schema for 
the things he repeatedly represents. The difference between the repeated 
use of a schema and the use of stereotyped repetitions is that a schema is 
flexible and undergoes many deviations and changes while stereotyped 
repetitions always remain the same. If we look at the drawing of the chil- 
dren playing checkers in Figure 46, we can see where the child repeated 
his schema of a man for both figures. However, the sizes as well as the 
motions of the figures differ, but the child's concepts are not clear. Notice, 
for example, that the nose as well as the eyes is expressed with the same 
symbol, just a dot. Yet obviously these parts have different functional 

Intelligent children are never satisfied with generalizations. The inquir- 
ing spirit often goes deeply into details. The "active knowledge" of the 
child reveals his understanding and interest in the world about him, and 
this is what is expressed in his drawings. The degree to which a child 
tends to differentiate his schema, that is, the extent that he is not satisfied 
with generalizations and wants to find more detailed characteristics, is a 
clear expression of his inquiring spirit. Our checker-playing youngster 
shows little awareness of these details. His eyes have no eyebrows, lids, or 

♦ ki^^ w^ ^' 



Plate 5. "We Are Playing on the Playground," drawn by 
an eight-year-old girl. Tiiere is a schema for running and 
a separate one for standing. The children standing in a 
circle are represented according to the child's experience 
of a circle, rather than perceived visually. 

o c 

T 3 = W) 
c^ ^ E " 

.5 •= "' 3 

ID - 

«J ■- 

"y S 


The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 175 

any other details, nor is the nose or the mouth indicated by more than a 
mere generahzation. The only concept that shows some of the detail is 
the concept for hand. It consists of the palm and five fingers. 

Of course, our checker player may not have been very involved in this 
particular picture; several drawings would be important to help us under- 
stand him better. However, the field of art can contribute a great deal to 
a child's growth by stimulating an awareness of those things around him. 
"Do you have to watch the moves carefully in checkers? Are you hoping 
your partner will not notice that he can jump you? Do you keep track 
of how many men you have left?" The clarifications of concepts and the 
stimulation of an awareness toward details can be a big step toward devel- 
oping a greater awareness of eyes. Since children are a product of their 
heredity and of their environment, we should strive to make their 
environment as rich and stimulating as possible in order to develop the 
child to his fullest capacities. Figure 52 was drawn by a boy after a trip 
to a firehouse. He not only remembered the rubber boots and pole but 
became very involved with the fire truck, and was particularly interested 
in the hose and ladder. The overlapping is unusual for this age. Certainly 
art can contribute much to a child's intellectual eagerness by developing 
his active l^notuledge. 

The area of emotional growth can often be neglected in a classroom. 
A child who has hurt his finger usually gets immediate attention from the 
teacher and often from a nurse or even a physician. A child with hurt 
feelings, however, usually has no one to whom to turn for help in patch- 
ing up his wounds. However, it has been fairly well established that a 
child's emotions, feelings, and attitudes can aflfect the learning situation. 
Art can certainly contribute much to the area of emotional growth. The 
opportunity to express in socially acceptable fashion the feelings of anger, 
fear, and even hatred, not only produces a release of tensions but also 
provides the opportunity for the child to discover that constructive use 
can be made of one's emotional involvement. 

When a schema is used in a rigid fashion, it may actually be an escape 
from facing one's own feelings and emotions. The flexible use of the 
schema is the most important requisite for true self-expression. The very 
nature of the schema, that it is the concept of the child that he uses over 
and over again whenever he needs it, provides a danger of becoming a 
stereotype that is repeated without any personal involvement. Flexibility 
is therefore the most important attribute of emotional growth to which 
special attention should be given during this period. Usually many changes 
and deviations in the schema can be observed, especially if the child is 

Figure 52. "At the Firehouse." The boy felt as if he were a 
fireman. At the left is the fire truck with its hose and 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 177 

free to express his own reactions without the concern of being censored. 
When the schema is used too rigidly, a child may hide behind these 
stereotypes; such hiding can readily be observed by noticing day-by-day 
changes or consistencies in the schema itself. Another form of flexibility 
in response can be seen in the variation in the sizes of the represented 
objects. With such variaitons the child may indicate the significance 
various objects have to him. Changes in the sizes of objects indicate the 
particular emotional value these objects have to the child. Exaggerations, 
neglect, or omissions, which indicate a child's emotional relationship to his 
environment, are not only typical of this age but are indicative of a 
child's healthy emotional reactions to his environment. 

If a child becomes bound up with one part of a drawing by losing all 
ties with the rest of it, the response of the child is no longer emotionally 
normal. He then continues to draw the one part of the figure to such 
an extent that the main part appears only an as appendage. Children who 
frequently draw such pathological exaggerations may be emotionally 
maladjusted. Continued and extremely distorted exaggerations are quite 
rare, however. A child who continuously uses the process of folding over 
habitually considers himself the center. Such ego-involved reaction to 
the environment is not to be confused with the occasional use of folding 
over, which is typical of this age. 

It is quite apparent, then, that art can not only provide an opportunity 
for the release of emotions but can also provide the child with an oppor- 
tunity to use these emotions constructively. Schools have to limit the de- 
gree of emotional outbursts that can be accepted within the society of 
a classroom. Outbursts of anger, frustration, envy, and sheer joy are 
usually not tolerated. However, the usual classroom goes far beyond this 
and strives to make an emotionless environment in which only the 
intellectual pursuits are worthy of consideration. Art then can provide a 
place for emotional growth, and should encourage a greater emotional in- 
volvement in a healthy tension-free environment. 

The social growth of children can also be seen in their creative produc- 
tions. The presence of the schema itself indicates that the child no longer 
thinks of himself as the center of his environment. Most important, he 
has become less ego-involved and more aware of himself in an objective 
way. The child's putting himself on a base line signifies that he is be- 
ginning to view himself in relation to others. 

The self-identification of a child with his own experiences in his creative 
work is one of the prerequisites for the establishment of a desire for some 


contacts outside the self. It is necessary to identify one's own actions and to 
feel responsible for, and to have some control over, these actions before 
the development of a greater group consciousness. For example, in Figure 
46 our checker-playing friend wanted to show us how he plays checkers by 
folding over his checkerboard. He also went beyond the immediate self 
by properly establishing contact with the rest of his environment. Note 
also that the table, chairs, and children are all in relation to the base line. 
Other parts of his environment are also noted. The awareness of things 
around the self, having no immediate relationship to the central experi- 
ence, shows a high level of social growth. It seems that in this particular 
drawing the child was not personally aware of which room he was in or 
of the particular characteristics of the lamp or the window, which he did 

Related here is the child's development in perceptual growth. The mere 
portrayal of a symbolic form of an object connotes little that indicates the 
development of a perceptual awareness. Since we know that perception 
includes many of the ways in which a child acquaints himself with his 
environment, the development of growth in perception is of prime im- 
portance in the field of art. The awareness of textures, sounds, smells, 
tastes, and visual shapes and forms can all be shown in a variety of ways 
in drawings. Developing a sensitive perceptual awareness becomes crucial 
when we realize that it is the interaction between a child and his environ- 
ment that can establish the amount or kind of learning that takes place. 
We have seen that color follows the same schematic patterns as form and 
space at this age. A child who has not yet established color-object relation- 
ships throughout his drawings has not developed perceptually as much 
as the child who is already aware that objects in the distance tend to 
become smaller. This does not mean that under the guise of developing 
perceptual growth, teachers should stress "proper" colors for objects or 
teach rules of perspective; rather, any motivation that attempts to focus 
upon perceptual growth should concentrate upon developing a more 
meaningful relationship between the child and what he is portraying. The 
products should be looked upon as a record of a child's growth rather 
than something to "correct." 

To some extent even physical growth can be seen in the productions of 
children. A child who is physically active is much more likely to give his 
figures movement and action than a child who lacks physical energies. 
As has been said previously, continuous exaggeration of the same body 
parts may indicate some defect. The reader might be interested in the fact 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 179 

that the child who drew our friends playing checkers was hard of hearing. 
He continuously exaggerated or at least emphasized the ears, as we can 
see in Figure 46. Certainly we can see the continuing development of 
coordination by the greater control children exhibit in the use of their 
materials during this age. Providing a range of sizes in brushes allows 
the child to progress at his own rate of growth. 

Aesthetic growth does not start at any particular age. Whenever objects 
or forms are seen in harmonious relationship to each other, and where we 
have an integration of thinking, feeling, and perceiving, we have devel- 
oped either consciously or unconsciously an aesthetic awareness. The lack 
of aesthetic growth can be seen in pictorial representations that are dis- 
organized either in thought and feeling or in the lack of awareness of any 
harmonious organization. We have already discussed the fact that rhythm, 
one of the basic elements of design, consists mainly of repetition, a natural 
type of expression during this schematic stage. Some children, especially 
those whose aesthetic growth is more developed, utilize this repetition in 
an unconscious way for decorative purposes. The bold and direct use of 
color, so typical of this age, adds to its decorative quality. However, we 
must remember that this is a natural outgrowth of the development of a 
child and is not subject to the same awareness of which an adult would 
be conscious. No dogma regarding rhythm, balance, or harmony will ever 
have anything but a negative effect upon a child's natural growth pattern. 
It is the effect of art experiences and processes upon the individual, and 
not the final product, that is the true meaning of aesthetic grotvth. 

If a child casually starts somewhere and either does not have enough 
space to place everything he wants to draw or discovers he has nothing 
to add and too much blank space left, the child obviously lacks a sensitive 
awareness of the relationship between his paper and what he is expressing. 
To develop those senses, we need to involve the whole child. "Imagine 
your paper is a treasure map of a large island. You will need to have an 
X marked where the treasure is. What else will you need on this map? 
Harbor? Boats? Trees? Mountains? Swamps? Lakes? Streams? Grave- 
yard? Stockade?" Here the emotional and perceptual relationship to the 
use of the total paper may have become more sensitive. Certainly a moti- 
vation that makes the child more sensitively aware of his personal rela- 
tionship with those things around him — particularly in terms of form, 
size, and texture — cannot help providing a product that is more developed 
along these lines. It must be stressed, however, that there are no set rules 
that can be applied to any individual. What is harmoniously right for one 


child may not be right for another, just as we have large differences in the 
design characteristics of modern artists, we should also expect and en- 
courage large differences in children's work. 

As has been stressed before, creativity can be seen in the flexibility of 
thinking and the originality of approach. To some extent the products of 
this schematic stage appear more rigid than the drawings and paintings 
of younger children. However, we realize that the child is structuring his 
environment in such a way that he can begin to organize and see relation- 
ships in his thinking processes. Rather than being a step backward, the 
child is beginning to organize the structure of his drawings and paintings 
in such a way that he can have some basis for change and reorganization. 
That is, creative thinking is not disorganized thinking, but rather is the 
ability to redefine and reorganize in a flexible manner those forms and 
elements with which we are familiar. Abstract thinking is based entirely 
upon symbols, and during this stage of development we can see the child's 
first steps toward structuring and organizing his environment. 

It is essential that a child be given constant encouragement to explore 
and investigate new ways and methods. Occasionally children will 
try to copy each other, particularly if one child has just received praise 
and another wishes that he could have this praise too. Putting a positive 
emphasis upon differences, and praising nonconformity and experimenta- 
tion, will encourage creative thinking. A child's own creative effort should 
be accepted regardless of how meager the product appears. Ideally, each 
child should be eager to create, with the teacher's role being primarily 
that of encouraging depth of expression and a meaningful experience. 
The child who clings too closely to stereotypes, or repeats too often a par- 
ticular schema, or is constantly looking for suggestions, is the one who 
needs the attention and special guidance of the teacher to bolster his own 
self-confidence and to provide him positive experiences in self-expression. 
At this age the opportunity to establish the self as an acceptable being, 
who thinks for himself and is able to express these thoughts, whatever 
they are, becomes very important. Since the child is searching for a pattern 
or structure within the environment, his concept of himself that is de- 
veloped at this time may be an important factor in his relationships with 
learning abilities and with people. To develop a positive image of one's 
self, to encourage confidence in one's own means of expression, to provide 
the opportunity for constructive divergent thinking, should certainly be 
basic aims of the art program. 

The Achievement of a Form Concept: The Schematic Stage 181 

Related Activities 

1. Collect drawings of a man, done by a second grade class. Find how many 
different symbols are used for nose, mouth, body, arms, and so forth. What 
percentage of these children are using geometric lines for their expression? 
Compare with drawings done by a third grade, to see if the percentages 

2. Find one child's schema for man. See how this is repeated over a period 
of several weeks. After a strong motivation centered upon some physical 
activity, notice the deviations in his schema. A week later, has he reverted to 
his usual schema.? 

3. In observing the behavior of children of this age, outside the classroom, can 
you detect any social schemata? Are there fixed rules for games? Are there 
set patterns for certain activities? Are there set songs or chants for such 
games as jump-rope? Is there any evidence of adults' pressure for these 
patterns, or do they come from the children themselves? 

4. How many children in a first grade use the base line in their representa- 
tions? Compare the percentage with a second grade class. 

5. Collect examples of X-ray drawings, folding over, and space-time repre- 
sentations. Why were these subjective representations important to the 
child's expression? How would adults portray the same event? Which is 
the most adequate? 

6. In examining children's drawings and paintings, show how the use of color 
parallels the establishment of a schema in form. What are some of the 
differences found in color schemata for common objects? 

7. Keep a list of the different reasons for exaggerations, omissions, or neglect 
of parts as shown in drawings. Illustrate each, from examples of children's 


1 . For a variety of schemata see Florence L. Goodenough, Measurement of 

Intelligence by Drawings (Yonkers, N.Y.: World Book Company, 1926). 

2. Manuel Barkan, A Foundation for Art Education (New York: Ronald 

Press Co., 1955), p. 117. 

3. For a discussion of this development outside the field of art see Jean Piaget, 

Judgment and Reasoning in the Child (Paterson, N.J.: Littlefield, Adams 
and Co., 1959). 

4. Victor D'Amico, Creative Teaching in Art, rev. ed. (Scranton, Pa.: Inter- 

national Textbook Co., 1953). 


The Dawning Realism: 

The Gang Age, 
Nine to Eleven Years 

One of the outstanding characteristics of this age of development is the 
child's discovery that he is a member of society — a society of his peers. It 
is during this time that children lay the groundwork for the ability to 
work in groups and to cooperate in adult life. The discovery of having 
similar interests, of sharing secrets, of the pleasure of doing things to- 
gether, are all very fundamental. There is a growing awareness that one 
can do more in a group than alone and that the group is more powerful 
than a single person. This age is the time for group friendships and peer 
groups or gangs. The word gang has taken on some negative connotations 
within today's society, but we as adults may have some very happy mem- 
ories of the gang of kids we went around with at school. This age shows 
an increasing development of "social independence" from adult domina- 
tion, a learning about social structures in a personal way. This is a funda- 


The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 183 

mental part of the developmental process and is an important step in 
social interaction. 

Because of the different interests of boys and girls in our society, and 
because of real differences in development, the groups or gangs are com- 
monly of the same sex. Boys often ignore girls, and girls despise boys. It 
is a time when boys prefer camping, belong to groups that have rules of 
their own, take great interest in group sports, build elaborate hideouts 
from boxes or stray pieces of lumber, and not infrequently lead wars 
against girls. Girls, on the other hand, are more eager to dress, enjoy 
parties, sit with their own group to watch a love movie, invent their own 
secret codes or languages, and not infrequently lead wars against boys 
of their own age, although often secretly admiring an older junior-high- 
school lad. 

These important feelings of an awakened social independence are often 
in direct conflict with the desires of parents or adults who do not want 
to give up the close supervision and guidance of their children. It is mostly 
for this reason that adults consider this stage of development undesirable 
and often interfering with their own lives. Needless to say, teachers who 
are unaware of the important implications of group activities often find 
themselves the uncomfortable target of secret groups. Instead of giving 
support to this awakening feeling for group cooperation and the discovery 
of social independence, parents and teachers often counteract it by pro- 
longing close dependency by authoritarian means. Instead of showing 
their sympathetic and warm feelings and interest for the desires of 
their children for group life, they often oppose it, not knowing that with 
such actions they only drive their children into secrecy. This may be one 
reason why cooperation with adults reaches an apparent low point, and it 
is interesting to note that "the peak of the delinquent period is usually said 
to coincide with the peak of the gang age at 10 or 11 years."^ The attitudes 
of adults may be in part responsible for some of the factors involved in 

For the child, however, this age may be a most dramatic and healthy 
period of discoveries, as can be clearly seen in the child's creative work. 

The Greater Awareness of the Self 

During this stage a child begins to develop a greater awareness of, and 
sensitivity to, his environment. He has come to wonder about why things 


work the way they do, and about his own being. He may now raise ques- 
tions about areas that not very long ago he looked upon as unquestionable. 
He is becoming increasingly critical of others and of himself, and some 
children will begin to hide their drawings from an inquisitive adult or 
make some disparaging remark about their efforts. Children of this 
age also develop a sense of justice and may object violently to actions that 
"aren't fair." There is also an increasing concern with sex differences ; 
although publicly the opposite sex is treated with a great deal of disdain, 
privately there are the awakenings of feelings of curiosity and affection. 
A child of ten has gained a fair amount of information about the workings 
of the world, both natural and social. However, to a great extent this tends 
to be isolated, concrete learning, and therefore much of the information 
that has been drilled into him in the classroom tends to be meaningless. 
The fact that the Pilgrims landed in 1620 is readily repeated on a test, 
but whether 1620 was before or after the last ice age is not clear. Some of 
the concepts children develop by this time continue with them through 
adult hfe. This is even true of their drawing characteristics. Studies have 
shown that there is surprising similarity between drawings of children 
during this stage and the drawings of adults who have had no formal art 

The Concept of Realism 

There is sometimes confusion in the use of the term realism, even with 
art educators. Often it is confused with the term naturalism. However, 
these terms can be self-explanatory as long as we remember that natural- 
ism refers directly to nature and realism refers to what is real. Nature can 
be looked upon by many people. Their backgrounds, reactions, or emo- 
tions do not affect what is there. Nature may be snow on the ground, a 
hot summer day, or any part of the environment — it is this way whether 
we look at it or not. What is real, however, is firmly rooted within us. 
We can be inspired by the beauty in nature, be disgusted with the selfish- 
ness of man, or be full of hope for the future, and all of these are very 
real, A question might arise whether it is desirable from the viewpoint of 
modern art education to stress the naturalistic tendencies. Although the 
imaginative and realistic tendencies are important, it would be a complete 
misunderstanding of modern art education to deny tendencies that lie 
sincerely in the development of a child. It would be a misconception to 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 185 

say there are no naturalistic tendencies in the child. We shall see that a 
visual concept of their environment is deeply rooted in a large number of 
growing adolescent children. However, a work of art is not the representa- 
tion of an object itself; rather, it is the representation of the experience we 
have with the particular object. A mere photographic imitation of his 
environment is not expressive of a child's individual relationship to what 
he perceives. The question, then, is not whether the child should draw in 
a photographic way or be forced to rely upon imaginative patterns, but 
whether the art experience provides the opportunity for a child to identify 
with his own experience and encourages him in his own personal, sensitive 
artistic creation. 

The Representation of the Human Figure 

The schema is no longer adequate to represent the human figure during 
the gang age. The concept of the human figure as expressed during the 
schematic stage is by its nature a generalized expression of man. At a 
later stage where the child is eager to express characteristics of sex, as 
boys with trousers and girls with dresses, the schematic generalization 
cannot suffice. We have discussed the greater awareness of this age; the 
modes of expression of the preceding stage are no longer suitable to 
express this increasing awareness. 

We found in earlier stages of drawing that the separate parts of these 
drawings were not self-explanatory, but rather were composed of geo- 
metric shapes and geometric lines. That is, a part when removed from the 
whole lost its meaning. Now, however, geometric lines no longer suffice. 
The child moves to a form of expression that relates more closely to 
nature. But the child is still far from a visual representation. For example, 
girls in their drawings do not yet "see" that their dresses have folds or 
wrinkles, or that the hem is uneven when they walk. The hemline itself 
is always drawn straight across, even during this period. This shows clearly 
that the drawing is not an outcome of the child's visual observation, but 
rather that the child is eager to characterize girls as girls or boys as boys. 
We find that the child gains a feeling for details but often loses a feeling 
for action. Indeed, we see a greater stiffness in the representations of 
the human figure in drawings of children of this age. It is significant that 
henceforth every part has its meaning and retains this meaning even 
when separated from the whole. 

Figure 53. This drawing of a farm shows a meager development of visual concepts, 
but has an interesting space interpretation. Two base lines are used, the upper with 
barn and trees and the lower with a tree and horses. 

The Representation of Space 

In the same way as the greater awareness of the self and of the environ- 
ment led a child to realize that geometric lines and forms are inadequate 
expression for the human figure, we also see in the representation of 
space a change from the symbolic expression, as seen in the base line con- 
cept, to a more naturalistic representation. As a result of this growing 
visual awareness, the child discovers that the space between base lines 
becomes meaningful and the plane is discovered. 

The change from a single base line to the discovery of the plane is 
usually a fairly rapid one. The stage of transition can be seen in drawings 
that include several base lines; we find the space between these base lines 
being filled in. An example of this appears in Figure 53. We can only 
speculate that the child himself may physically discover the plane by his 
increased physical activity and developing curiosity. One can almost pic- 
ture a first grader walking to school along his prescribed route. Compare 
this with a fourth grader who acts as if the sidewalk were there to ignore; 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 187 

he is much more interested in walking on the wrong side of the hedge, 
kicking a can in the gutter, or going around in back of some of the houses 
to make sure that nothing interesting is happening. At any rate, the base 
hne begins to disappear, and trees and houses no longer stand only on 
the edge of this line. Although for some children the base line representa- 
tion remains in frequent use, the space below the base line now takes on 
the meaning of ground. 

We also find that the sky line is no longer drawn across the top of the 
page but now extends all the way down to what at the beginning may be 
a base line but gradually assumes the significance of the horizon. At this 
time, however, the child has not yet become aware of the meaning of the 
horizon. He has not yet developed a conscious visual percept of depth, 
but he has taken the first steps toward such an awareness. With the sky 
all the way down the child soon realizes that a tree growing from the 
ground will partially cover the sky. Hence, he becomes conscious of 

Figure 54. The beginnings of overlapping may be seen 
in this drawing of a car witii buildings in the background. 



overlapping, and another step toward a more naturalistic representation 
has been perceived, as seen in the buildings behind the car in Figure 54. 
This can be a very real discovery. That it is possible for objects to overlap 
can be an exciting experience; this awareness can be utilized by the 
sensitive teacher, as we shall discuss later. That one object can cover 
another is an important fact, because it implies an awareness of the 
existence of the other object. It is especially at this period that cooperation 
with adults is at a low point, although the support and acceptance of the 
child's peers is considered essential. We have not seen the development of 
this awareness in earlier stages. 

The Changing Mode of Expression 

Since the child is developing a greater visual awareness, he no longer 
uses, exaggerations, omissions, or other deviations in expressing his emo- 
tions. Although at the age of nine most children still exaggerate size rela- 
tionships, particularly of the human figure, studies have shown that this 
exaggeration tends to disappear during this stage of development." The 
child now begins to substitute other means of expression to show emphasis. 
We commonly see an accumulation of details on those parts that are 
emotionally significant. 

We have discussed the fact that geometric lines are no longer adequate 
for expression, but the greater awareness and concern for detail at this 
stage of development can even extend to making a left hand quite differ- 
ent from the right. This concern for proper detail can occasionally make 
the total look distorted. Sometimes this concern for detail will even make 
a child exclaim that he has "goofed" if he has not drawn the proper 
number of buttons on his shirt. This dawning awareness of the visual 
appearance of objects has nothing to do with true naturalistic tendencies. 
This can be readily seen in these drawings and paintings, since there is 
no attempt at showing the light or shade, the eflfect of motion or any folds 
or wrinkles; rather, the child is characterizing his environment. His 
drawings have taken on a certain stiffness and formality. 

The X-ray drawing and drawings using folding over are now criticized 
by children as being unnatural. Since this type of representation is pri- 
marily subjective, children who are becoming more aware of nature no 
longer look upon this mode of organization as being appropriate. 

The Use of Color 

There is a great unity in the way in which children change in their 
means of expression. In color the child moves from a rigid color-object 
relationship to a characterization of color. Now he distinguishes between 
a bluish-red sweater and a yellowish-red sweater. This greater awareness 
of color differences can not be called a true visual perception. This is be- 
cause he does not indicate the changing effects of colors in light and 
shade, or the effect of atmosphere upon color. Some children will find 
that the sky has a different blue from the blue of the river or the lake, 
and some will find that the tree is a different green from the green of the 
grass. If a child in this stage of development still uses rigid color-object 
relationships, he is slow to develop in his color relationships. This is not 
because he does not use new colors (this would be a very superficial 
answer) but because in his visual perception the child has not yet refined 
his sensitivity toward seeing differences that distinguish a green shrub 
from a green lawn. We shall discuss the methods of developing a greater 
sensitivity to those things around us. A refined perception can add a great 
richness to our lives, without which we pass the beauties in life like 

The more a child moves toward the establishment of a visual relation- 
ship between color and object, the more teachers are tempted to misuse 
this dawning sense for "realistic" colors by teaching the child how to use 
and apply color. There is no place in the elementary school for the teach- 
ing of color theories by means of color wheels or other "helps." Such 
teaching would only destroy the child's spontaneous approach and would 
make him insecure in his own developing sense of color relationships. The 
only way a child can be made more color-conscious is through the em- 
phasis of the child's own reactions to color. The more meaningful the 
interaction between child and color, the deeper will be the experience. 

How should we stimulate a greater awareness of color .^ Although there 
may be many techniques in stimulating a greater awareness of color, the 
basic underlying philosophy should be that the child himself becomes 
aware of the significance of color through his own experiences and achieve- 
ments. An example might be a visit to a slum area, and upon return a dis- 
cussion about the unpainted houses, the shattered windows replaced by 
wooden boards, the yards filled with junk, and a discussion about the 
people who live there. After consideration of these living conditions and 



their social implications, the children could paint "How It Would Be to 
Live in the Slums." Another time a trip to some well-designed and nicely 
kept homes would provide contrast. A discussion of the use of paint, the 
amount of light, the well-kept lawns, and the greater amount of space 
would be background for a picture of "The House in Which I Wish to 
Live." It is easily understood that the comparison of the dull atmosphere 
of the slums with the bright and joyous treatment of the house in which 
the child wished to live could give many opportunities to talk of dull and 
bright colors — in an abstract way, but in connection with an experience. 
Other sensitivity to color such as warm and cool colors could be experi- 
enced in the same way. A child is especially ready at this period for devia- 
tions from a former rigid color schema, and he will usually use such 
meaningful stimulations most willingly. 

The impressionistic, or visual, color scale is the last and most complex 
to experience. We will discuss this in a later chapter. At this stage, the 
nine-to-eleven-year-old child's use of color is related to his subjective re- 
Figure 55. Toads, beetles, rocks, and other natural objects are fas- 
cinating and inspiring to children of this age. 

.■ " ■■■" f .-■?• 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 191 

actions. The child enjoys colors and is now capable of being much more 
sensitive toward differences and similarities, and his eager explorations 
through fall leaves, or his sudden realization of the constantly changing 
sky colors, should certainly be encouraged. Any discussion of color, there- 
fore, should focus upon the experience and not upon the "proper" use of 
color in a particular painting. 

The Meaning of Design and Crafts 

As children now discover the meaningfulness of their environment and 
begin to relate this closely to themselves, it becomes most important for 
education to give them a feeling for what is sincere in our environment 
and what is insincere. One of the main functions of design can be the 
establishment of harmonious relationships. At this age, then, it is impor- 
tant that we stimulate children's thinking and provide opportunities for 
discoveries that relate to the natural beauty of materials as they are found 
unspoiled within our environment. This means developing a feeling for 
differences in rocks, pebbles, shells, barks, moss — this wealth we can find 
in nature. Children of this age are normally collecting a variety of objects 
anyway, from bits of string to toads, as any mother of a nine-year-old can 
testify (see Figure 55). A collection of a pile of pebbles in a classroom 
can actually be very exciting. A discussion of the different shapes and 
different colors, noticing how the water has worn down some edges, or 
seeing how the light tries to shine through some varieties but not others — 
all of this can be real discovery and can awaken perceptual sensitivity. 
Such explorations take a relaxed atmosphere, for such learning cannot be 

We need not be limited to discovering the beauty of natural materials 
in just woods and streams. Even scrap material can have beauty hidden in 
it. Certainly rusty iron, or wrinkled paper, or even mold and mildew can 
be pleasing to look at if we can redefine our values and not think of them 
as being discarded and rejected parts of our sometimes too-sterile environ- 

The sincerity of beauty as found in nature should be stressed, since this 
is a natural extension of the child's own direction at this age. Occasionally 
children will enjoy putting these collections into some form, such as 
putting the pebbles into a little sand in a box and pouring plaster over 
the back of them to make a mosaic, or putting scrap material into a collage 

Figure 56. Holes and textures were of prime concern in tiiis collage. 

(see Figure 56). Becoming sensitive to the qualities of a material is 
of great importance, and children should be given an opportunity to im- 
provise on their own account combinations of materials that need not 
necessarily serve a useful purpose. Getting acquainted with the different 
functions and qualities of materials is the main aim. 

From our discussion it may seem as if emphasis is being placed upon 
a knowledge and understanding of materials, whereas the area of design 
may be bypassed. However, there should be no separation between the 
material and its function or between crafts and design. Rather, from the 
very beginning, inspirations for working with materials should come from 
the structure and nature of the material itself. The results of such relation- 
ships between a child and the materials will be crucial in enabling the 
child to adapt intuitively the qualities inherent in materials to any design 
in later years. In our greatest cultures skill, design, and workmanship 
were inseparable. Today we are again beginning to see some glimmer of 
a closer relationship between the craftsman, the material, and the function 
or design. 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 193 

In the drawings and paintings of children in this stage of development 
we begin to see a conscious awareness of decoration. Girls more and more 
frequently begin putting patterns on their dresses. Boys become more 
aware of the plaid of their flannel shirts. This developing awareness of 
pattern and decoration within our environment is no excuse for the formal 
teaching of design. We certainly would not begin to teach the formal ele- 
ments of grammar to a two-year-old child who has discovered that he can 
make his needs known through speech, nor would we teach the formal 
problems of balance, rhythm, or half-drop repeats to a child who is begin- 
ning to discover these patterns within his environment. A project such as 
designing a decorative border for a tea towel has little meaning, and it is 
entirely unsuitable to plan a design carefully on paper for possible transfer 
to some other material with which the child is not involved. However, 
simple potato, eraser, or spool prints may give a sense of an understanding 
of repetition as part of the principles of design. This is feasible only when 
the material and the design itself have a function in the life of the child. 
Such repeating patterns, although looking primitive to adults, will give 
an understanding of the nature of repetitions, and the folds in such 
material will show how the pattern can become dynamic through the 
nature of the material. To identify with the needs of the materials, that is, 
to learn their behavior, is important not only educationally but also 
ethically, as it will promote a feeling for sincerity and truth in design. 

It is of course entirely possible to stimulate a greater sensitivity toward 
common materials within the usual classroom setting. For example, a 
common material like paper can be looked upon as having many possi- 
bilities. "What can paper do? How does it feel? Is it smooth or rough? 
Can you fold it or crease it? How does it look when it is crumpled? 
Notice how it tears. Can you make it turn or bend so that it looks happy? 
Can you make it feel sad?" Other materials can be treated in somewhat 
the same way, with the emphasis being upon the process of manipulation 
and exploring the material and not upon achieving a "nice-looking" 
finished product. There is no reason to think that all children need be 
equally occupied and interested in the same materials. Boys at this age 
often develop great interest in working with wood. If simple tools are 
available, a great deal of interest can be generated in discovering the quali- 
ties of wood, and the physical exertion of hammering and sawing and 
nailing often gives positive release to bottled-up energies (see Figure 57). 

A word should be said here about exposing insincerity in the use of art 
materials. We constantly see around us examples of sham and falsehood in 

Figure 57. These ten-year-old boys enjoy the experi- 
ence of building their own projects in wood. 

the use of materials. There is so much in the way of natural beauty for 
children of this age to discover, that exposing for what they are the false 
flowers, the imitation stone floors, the false chimneys, should be a part of 
the awareness of these children. To a great extent children accept the 
things around them as appropriate, and unconsciously we may go on 
living in an insincere environment. If we would live in a more truthful 
society, it is not too soon to stress the sincerity of design. 

Clay continues to be an excellent material for three-dimensional expres- 
sion. However, sometimes clay is used as a craft material to make such 
things as plaques and ash trays. Unless these objects have a real need in 
the life of children, and not very many children between nine and eleven 
smoke cigarettes, these projects will be mere busy-work. Pressing various 
textures into clay, or exploring the possibility of space and form such as 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 195 

holes in clay, or repeating a pattern of lines in a clay batt may have some 
utilitarian value if the clay pieces are fired. However, the teacher must not 
put the emphasis upon the preservation of the final product. If the child 
can participate in the total process — seeing the clay in its natural state to 
watching it come fired from the kiln — this is a very worthwhile experience. 
Occasionally, however, teachers remove the clay pieces and have them 
fired. Then the finished product has no relationship to the child who 
made it; the color, texture, and consistency have been so altered that the 
child can no longer identify with the object. Under such conditions it is 
better to leave the clay piece unfired. Clay that has been modeled or made 
to represent some object, person, or animal is usually not fired anyway. 
This is merely because the experience has been expressed in the process 
itself, and the procedure of firing can often cause these pieces to break 
apart. Most of the synthetically modeled pieces (those put together from 
single details) would not be able to stand firing. As has been said before, it 
is not worthwhile to sacrifice the child's individual thinking to conform to 
mere procedure. 

Since the child has developed an interest in the possibilities of working 
with a variety of materials, he is also a "pushover" for a range of non- 
creative craft projects to be found on the market. Such items as precut 
leather tooling kits, easy-to-glue-together plastic objects, or mosaic kits that 
"anybody can put together" can be a real menace to his normal curiosity 
and development. It certainly rests with the teacher to point out that 
making a boat from scrap wood can be a much more enjoyable activity 
than trying to fit together some adult's preconceived plastic model. If a 
child can get satisfaction from working with a range of common mate- 
rials, and if misguided parents stop praising products instead of children, 
the precut already-thought-out "easy projects" companies will be out of 

Art Motivation 

Adults often have pleasant memories of childhood; however, most of 
these memories are of happenings and situations outside of school. Prob- 
ably each of us has particular memories of the time when we were either 
nine, ten, or eleven. One adult remembering back to this stage had the 
following to say. 

"If I remember back at my childhood — now, you see if I remember 


back at this stage, it must have made a very distinct impression on me, but 
I remember very distinctly how we converted a small, little, oh, island into 
something, into a wonderland. When I was a child we were in a gang — 
a wonderful gang — and we would sit on a footbridge over a small stream, 
I am quite sure it was not larger than a few feet, but when we went over 
this bridge it appeared to us like, oh, miles long you know, going over 
the bridge and entering our land which no one knew. This was fascinat- 
ing. We made a building there at the highest point — there was a little 
hill, and we made our own money, of course, we collected the money, you 
know, for entrance into this island. I can still remember that we had 
pockets full of paper money which we ourselves printed. And we had 
there, we found bones of a dead animal and made a little sign saying, 
'These are the bones discovered of an animal two thousand years ago,' and 
we really looked at it as we put it there in a certain order, and you know, 
this was something magic to us. -And another place was the Snake Point 
where we had spread out a dead snake which we found, and when we 
went there we really got goose pimples. This was the Snake Point, let's go 
to the Snake Point, and then you know we collected gravel and built little 
paths, and these were then real paths, you know. We had a hideout when 
it rained, so this island was really something magic." 

Imagine if we could promote in school these same intense experiences. 
All too often school is looked upon as being a place to "behave," a place 
to suffer through because of the misfortune to have been born young. But 
there is no reason why school should not be a stimulating, exciting place, 
where the natural drives of children are not only accepted but developed 
into meaningful stimulating education. 

Motivation during this period must stress the newly discovered social 
independence in order to give the child a feeling of self-esteem. An art 
experience must give him an opportunity to express the growing aware- 
ness of sex, to develop a greater awareness of self, and to satisfy a new 
curiosity for the environment. It must also inspire the child to use the 
newly found methods of group cooperation as beneficial means for achiev- 
ing results. 

To inspire cooperation, two means can successfully be used: first, the 
subjective method of cooperation, which deals with representations of 
individual experiences of cooperation or the representations of scenes in 
which cooperation is important. However, it is vital for the teacher to 
know that much depends upon the way such motivation is presented to 
the group. The atmosphere the teacher develops during the motivation 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 197 

Figure 58. "A City Picture," drawn by a nine-year-old boy. The boy identities with 
the tratlic-directing poHceman, who is symboHc of order in our society. 

contributes greatly to its success. Such topics as "Helping the Flood 
Victims" or "Cleaning Up After the Storm" can be presented very 
dramatically. Whenever the child can identify with a larger undertaking 
in which the individual feels that the group effort can not be successful 
without his contribution, such a topic will inspire cooperation. It 
continues to be important that each motivation be stimulating and develop 
a greater awareness of the possibilities in the subject matter. Such motiva- 
tion should include a discussion and a point of culmination. The implica- 
tions of being a flood victim are important considerations. "Whose house 
is under water .-^ No one's? Suppose you were living there and we could 
watch how the water rises and rises! How would we feel.?" The putting 
of one's self into the place of those for whom we do the group work is, of 
course, most important in motivating effective cooperation. Further areas 
might include the identification of the self with those people who are re- 
sponsible for the social welfare. Such activities as drawing the firemen 
during the big fire or the policeman during the evening rush hour can 
also effectively stimulate a greater social cooperation (see Figure 58). 

The second method, the objective method of cooperation, deals more 
directly with group work itself: a whole group works on one project (see 




Figure 59. Every child must feel that his contribution is important 
to the success of the group effort. Here youngsters paint their mural 
on the floor. 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 199 

Figure 59). Here also the kind of motivation is vital for its success. The 
group work can be quite simple in its planning, such as having each 
child make a fierce animal of clay and then assembling these animals into 
a large zoo. Straws or sticks can serve as bars, and the children will enjoy 
making signs for the various parts of the zoo. Group work can get quite 
elaborate, with a class dividing up into several working units. An example 
might be making a mural of a city. 

"What makes a city? Yes, houses and stores and factories. But we can- 
not have them all mixed up together! How would you like to live right 
next to a factory! Yes, we need to have some zoning laws. We will 
certainly need the residential district. How many children would like to 
work on the residential section of our city? You will have to work hard 
because there are so many different kinds of buildings that people live in! 
Now we have the industrial area for our factories. How many would like 
to work on this section? And, yes, the shopping area, too. But there are 
more than just stores in the shopping section! What other districts do 
we have? Oh, yes, playground and recreation area, fine! Does everyone 
know what section he is going to l?e working on? You had better pick 
a leader to help your group decide what kind of buildings you are going 
to need. You say we still need a school district? Oh, I think the residential 
area committee should worry about that. Why, John and Joseph, you are 
not on any committee! Would you like to plan the background for our 
city? Should we have a stream or river near the city? Do you think we 
should have some mountains, fields, or forest land around?" 

Probably a material such as colored paper would be quite suitable for 
this topic. A large background paper or board would be essential. It is 
not expected that a cooperative enterprise like this would be a smooth, 
quiet operation. Democratic action may not be easily learned, but it is 
an essential part of our way of life. When the various committees of the 
city have completed their districts, the city can be assembled. A lack of 
trees may be very apparent, or some small houses may be needed, and 
"someone had better cut out some gray smoke to go on the factory chim- 
neys; and, oh, we forgot all about making cars and trucks for our streets." 
In such a way all children become involved in the activities. It is probably 
best to staple or tack the various buildings in place so that these buildings 
can be readily moved from one spot to another. There may be a sudden 
cry of dismay as Johnny finds that someone has placed a church right 
over his house. This provides a fine opportunity for some explanation of 
the meaning of overlapping, especially at the time when overlapping 


becomes meaningful. "Did you ever go to a movie and find a nice seat 
where you could see the screen, and right in front of you a lady with a big 
hat sits down and now you can see nothing? Is that good? Would it be 
all right if a little boy sat in front of you ? It wouldn't matter if a little boy 
sat in front because you could still see and people could still see you. 
Overlapping is fine, but one should not completely cover the other. Maybe 
the small house can go in front of the church since the church could still 
be seen. And look, a tree can go in front of the house." The child has 
developed a fair amount of understanding when he can accept a minor 
role for one of his buildings, but maybe can feel better when his tree goes 
over someone else's building. Every individual, every child in the class, 
should think, "I could not have accomplished by myself what the whole 
group has done." This is a main part of cooperation. 

As we can see, the teacher's role was a subordinate one in this activity. 
Her main role was to act as a catalyst. It is a much more difficult task to 
stimulate and encourage children to learn, produce, and explore on their 
own. An easier method of producing products would be to authoritatively 
assign projects and have the "best" method for achieving results already 
worked out beforehand. To provide a rich meaningful experience for chil- 
dren, such authoritarian methods must be discarded. It is much more im- 
portant to increase the interest of children in the materials of expression, 
it is much more important to give a sense of discovery, it is much more 
important to give the child an opportunity to determine his own relation- 
ships with the world, than to worry about how "artistic" a particular 
product looks. 

Care should be taken in any art motivation to insure that the individual 
has ample opportunity to develop his own means of expression. As we 
have seen, there is a need for group activities, but these group activities 
should never be accompanied by pressure for conformity to the norm. 

Subject Matter in Art 

Subject matter throughout the grades is determined by the subjective 
relationship of man to his environment. As the child changes, so does 
his expression. The following suggestions for subject matter are based 
upon the particular characteristics of the developmental level as previously 
discussed. These topics are only meant to be suggestions; it is assumed 
that they will always be adjusted and subordinated to the particular class- 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 201 

room situation and to the particular group of children involved. It is im- 
portant that the teacher become involved and excited about the content of 
art expression. The following topics, then, are not to be considered as 
assignments but as areas of interest, which can be pursued with 

To stimulate subjective cooperation and to encourage children to identify 
with group activities the following topics are suggested. 

"Picking Up After the Storm" 
"Helping After the Flood" 
"Gathering Wood for Our Campfire" 
"Building a Clubhouse with My Friends" 

It is also important to stimulate cooperation through the identification 
of a child with the forces of social preservation and maintenance. Such 
topics as the following might be appropriate. 

"A Policeman in Five-o'clock Traffic" 
"Repairing the Broken Water Main" 
"A Nurse Taking Care of the Sick" 

There are of course many ways in which a group can work objectively 
together for group cooperation. We have already discussed a few pos- 
sibilities, but there are many more. There should be opportunity for small 
groups of children to work together on such a project, and the final 
product should be large enough and complex enough so that each child 
can contribute in his own way and so that no one child could possibly do 
the whole project alone. The following are some suggestions for group 

"We Art All Making a Circus" 

"We Are Making Our Own County Fair" 

"We Are All Making a Farm" 

"We Are Exploring the Surface of Venus" (See Plate 6.) 

We have discussed the disappearance of the base line at this age, and 
ample opportunity should be given children to explore the possibilities 
of using the plane. Since there is an increasing awareness of differences 

Figure 60. Cardboard boxes are the material from which this animal 
grows. Many materials can be manipulated and transformed into objects 
with real meaning to the creator. 

in sex and a greater attention to detail, ample opportunity should be 
allowed to explore and express subject matter that will provide for these 
tendencies. It should be stressed that all subject matter should have mean- 
ing for the child and not be removed from his own experiences. Suitable 
topics for this age might include: 

"Sitting Around a Table for Supper" 
"Planting a Garden in the Spring" 
"Watching the Parade Come down the Street' 
"Skating on the Pond in the Woods" 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 203 

"Playing Baseball on the School Grounds" 

One of the characteristics of this age is the beginning awareness of over- 
lapping. We have discussed some of the possibilities in this area, and it 
is to be expected that discussions will arise normally from the painting 
procedures. However, some specific topics to stimulate thinking in this 
area might include: 

"Looking out the Window of the School Bus" 
"Sitting in the Movie Theater" 
"Looking at Clothes in the Store Window" 
"Singing for the School Assembly" 

There is another large area of subject matter in art that is related more 
to the development of skills and the increased familiarity with the nature 
of materials. Although these experiences with different materials may not 
have a specific subject or topic to represent, the purpose and reason behind 
each of the activities should be made quite clear to the youngsters. Since 
children of this age are becoming more outspoken about themselves and 
about adults, these children should have a knowledge and understanding 
of the purposes of any project. A number of craft activities can be in- 
cluded under this heading, although care should be taken to insure that 
the direction and planning rests with the children involved. This would 
mean that activities such as those that are preplanned by the teacher or 
those that are "cute" or "tricky" would be discarded. Some suggestions 
for projects in this general area follow. 

"Geometric Potato Printing on Textiles" 

"Making a Collage for Our Fingers to Feel" 

"Making a Funny Animal in Papier-Mache" (See Figure 60.) 

"Making Some Prints for a Christmas Card" 

"Putting Together an Object from Wood" 

"Making a Mosaic from Pebbles and Plaster" 

"Some Imaginative Animals in Clay" 

"Using Shiny Paper for Decorations" 

There is one very important subject matter area in art that should never 
be overlooked. This is the subject matter that is within each child. In 


some cases this subject matter may be very apparent, such as a boy's Ibve 
for working with tools; however, sometimes this subject matter can be 
hidden beneath the surface, as in a quiet girl's feehngs of rejection. 
There should be ample opportunity for these extremes to be expressed. 
That is, both the joy and pleasure of creating should be given free rein, 
but also deeper emotional feelings and subconscious drives should be 
given an opportunity to be expressed. Some materials lend themselves to 
the expression of the inner self better than others. Finger paint provides a 
direct release for such feelings; working in clay can provide the op- 
portunity for frustrations to be eased. Ideally, every child would express 
himself freely. In some cases the understanding support of a sensitive 
teacher is necessary to put strong feelings and emotions into artistically 
constructive channels. 

Art Materials 

The child has advanced beyond the use of geometric lines and base line 
representations in their linear meaning. With the discovery of the plane 
he now feels the need of filling in spaces, as for example in the representa- 
tion of the sky, which is now usually painted down to the horizon. Al- 
though crayons can be used on their sides to fill large areas, the best 
material for this purpose is poster or tempera paint. Since the child now 
has greater control over the paint, it is no longer as necessary to have 
the paint mixed to a thick consistency. In fact, the child himself can now 
add water to the paints to make them the consistency that he himself 
likes, and he can also be responsible for refilling his own paint container. 

We have found that children during this stage of development are more 
concerned with detail than formerly. Therefore, some children will want 
to use a hair brush in addition to the bristle brush. Although children 
at this age differentiate their color-object relationships, using different 
greens for grass and trees, it is not necessary to increase the number of 
colors the child has available. Actually, a limited number of paints 
encourages a child to creatively mix his colors himself (see Figure 61). 
Good crayons also mix, but this is even more true with poster paint. If 
you give children a limited scale of colors, you encourage them to invent 
their colors if they feel the desire, and if they don't feel the desire for 
greater color differentiation, it is of no use to give them a larger color 
scale anyway, because they won't use it except as a matter of multiple 

Figure 61. Mixing their own paints gives these girls an opportunity 
to enjoy and explore the possibilities of color. 


choice. Actively engaging in mixing colors for a particular reason is 
much more desirable than providing a variety of hues that the child pas- 
sively accepts. 

As we have said before, a material is good only if it contributes to the 
child's needs and helps him to express what is in his mind. Although 
there are unlimited materials for the use of children, care should be taken 
that these materials lend themselves to expression rather than restrict 
children's originality. If a material is by its very nature restrictive or 
inhibiting, it should be discarded. Some strange creations have resulted 
from some misguided "arty" programs. Such things as marshmallows 
and toothpicks, wilted phonograph records, decorated light bulbs, or lamps 
made from old ginger ale bottles can make a mockery of an art program. 

Colored paper is a basic material at this age. It provides a natural 
means of overlapping and is an appropriate material for the early stages 
of cooperation through projects. Another essential material is pottery 
clay, which can be used for many three-dimensional projects. This clay can 
be easily stored in plastic bags, and of course it can be used again and 
again. There are certain advantages to using materials that are considered 
adult art materials, and clay is certainly one of these. 

Finger paint is a material that we have not considered to any degree 
before this stage. Now, however, it can be used for expression without the 
concern that children will be too involved with its textural consistencies. 
Needless to say, there should also be a good supply of basic equipment. 
This includes scissors, a stapler, paste, cellophane tape, and some wood- 
working tools. 

For craft work many materials can be used, such as wood, papier-mache, 
wire, cloth, and of course a scrap container with a wide range of straws, 
buttons, boxes, colored cellophane, and anything else that looks interesting. 
Of course, children themselves will collect barks, rocks, pieces of wood, 
feathers, or whatever happens to attract them. Although some care should 
be taken to insure the safety of the children from such things as broken 
glass or sharp points, undue concern for sanitation and cleanliness may 
stand in the way of a child developing skill in hammering or cutting, or 
of digging up a particularly pleasing pebble. 

A Discussion of the Art of the Gang Age 

As has been said before, one of the outstanding characteristics of this 
age is that the child discovers his social independence. He has discovered 

Plate 7. "Standing in the Rain," drawn by an eleven-year-old girl. 
Color, use of space, and wealth of detail combine to give an aesthetically 
pleasing whole. Here we see a growing visual awareness coupled with 
a child's directness and freshness. 

Plate 8. "Barns," painted in watcrcolor by a preadolescent girl. 
Her direct expression shows her developing aesthetic awareness. 
Such decorative and pleasing preadolescent art should be valued 
for its own sake. It should not have to conform to adult stand- 
ards, to inflexible rules of perspective and proportion, or to 
arbitrary principles of design. 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 207 

that he can have actions and thoughts quite independent of adults. He has 
developed a feeling for himself as a member of a group. He has also 
become more aware of the details of his environment. His drawings are 
no longer composed of a schema for people, but rather his concept of 
people has altered so that the schema is no longer adequate. How much 
he has departed from schematic representation and how much he feels the 
need to characterize particular objects, figures, and his environment is 
indicative of his intellectual growth. It can be easily understood that a 
child of low mentality neither becomes aware of his changing environment 
nor discovers those characteristics that allow him to individualize objects 
or figures. 

The ability to break away from the schema and to recognize particular 
details connected with the self and with the environment is one of the 
characteristics of this age. We have also seen that children between the 
ages of nine and eleven are much more observant about their environment, 
and their interest in discovering the details of nature can be seen in the 
variety of collections made by boys and girls. To a great extent, however, 
these children do not remove themselves from their own observations. 
That is, their drawings and paintings show quite clearly that they see 
things through their own experiences, and assume that this "reality" is the 
way things really are. Children can sometimes be critical of the drawings 
of others and even their own drawings if these do not live up to their 
own interpretation of what is "real." We can see that naturalism is not 
the ultimate goal at this age, because there is usually no attempt at show- 
ing light and shade, atmospheric effects, or even color reflections or folds 
in cloth. The child then has left the stage of schemata and laws for be- 
havior behind him, has developed a curiosity about himself and those 
things around him, but has not achieved an objective naturalistic view- 
point. In a later chapter we shall discuss the fact that for some people 
this stage may never come. 

It should be emphasized at this point that there is no value judgment 
implied in the various stages of children's development. Our concern here 
is merely to understand these differences and to become more sensitive to 
the great variety of artistic expression. 

If we look at Plate 7, "Standing in the Rain," we can relate our dis- 
cussion to a particular drawing. This picture was done by an eleven-year- 
old girl using crayons. The schema has practically disappeared except for 
some facial features. Notice, for example, the repeated symbol for the nose 
in the central three figures and the sharp nose form in the rest of the 
figures. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this stage is the 


Figure 62. "Man with Umbrella," painted by a ten-year-old boy. For some children, 
the base line and the exaggeration of meaningful parts, such as the enlargement 
of the hand holding the umbrella, continue at this age. 

fact that parts of a drawing can now be subtracted from the total without 
losing their meaning. No longer do geometric lines suffice. It can be 
noticed in "Standing in the Rain" that the feet or facial features would 
remain as recognizable parts even though they were removed from the 
context of the drawing. It is also very apparent that the child has departed 
from his base line representation and has a distinct feeling for the plane. 
The inclusion of such details as puddles, houses with windows, raincoats 
with buttons and belts, boots of various colors, and umbrellas of various 
patterns clearly shows that this child is very aware of her environment. It 
can be easily understood, then, that a child of lower mentality would 
draw quite a different picture. Notice for comparison the drawing "Man 
with Umbrella" in Figure 62, where awareness of detail is much less. 

The question may be raised whether intelligence alone might cause 
such differences in representation. Comparing "Standing in the Rain" with 
"Man with Umbrella," might not lack of motivation be a real considera- 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 209 

tion ? We have said before that a closer look at children's drawings can 
give us a better understanding of children and some insight into their 
thinking processes. Indeed, yes; lack of motivation may cause great 
differences in drawings. However, we are dealing with functional intel- 
ligence, that is, how one actually acts and performs within the environ- 
ment. In some cases a potentially brilliant person may go to his grave 
without ever being motivated to utilize this potential. One of the im- 
portant roles of the teacher is to motivate and excite children to utilize 
their potential to fullest capacity. We might be a little more exact in 
saying that these two children have differences in their functional intel- 
ligence that may be caused by several unknowns. However, for the 
teacher it is quite clear that promoting in the child a greater sensitivity 
to his changing environment and awareness of his own thinking, feeling, 
and perceiving will help to develop him to his fullest potential. 

Within the framework of art experiences we have the opportunity to 
provide for the development of emotional growth. Within our society too 
often children's emotions and feelings are squelched. This is particularly 
true of boys who are at an early age told not to be sissies. Even within 
a group of age-mates a boy usually has to conceal his true feelings in 
order to remain "manly." For the opportunity to express emotional con- 
tent and to develop in emotional growth, children need to identify with 
their own experiences in their art. Children who constantly hide behind 
stereotypes or who are unable to paint their own relationships with their 
environment are not able to express their true feelings. 

Children now usually refrain from using as much exaggeration as they 
did earlier. We find that there is a more naturalistic proportion. One of 
the characteristics of emotional interest in a particular part of a drawing 
or a painting is the accumulation of details in this particular part. This 
can be easily understood, for the child uses more aflfection to characterize 
a part that is of emotional significance to him. 

Social growth, during this period, is one of the outstanding factors of 
development. This is the time when the child discovers his social in- 
dependence, when he recognizes that he has more power in a group than 
as an individual. Yet when something interferes with this new feeling of 
social belonging, the child may withdraw and remain an outsider. 
Whether or not a child identifies himself with a gfoup can be recognized 
by two factors from his creative work: (1) from the content of the work, 
(2) from the participation in group work. Since we have mentioned 
"Standing in the Rain" in Plate 7, we shall look at this illustration for 


content indicating group identification. It seems obvious that this child 
is aware of people, and since she makes the children different sizes, she is 
aware of group differences. However, every figure is looking straight 
forward and seems to have little relationship with the others. The figures 
appear more like a group of individuals who happen to be standing next 
to each other. To a great extent, however, the topic may have been 
responsible for this lack of common feeling of participation. There are 
two methods of group identification, the one being involved with the 
event or action, the other being the representation of group interaction. 
The illustration indicates that the child has identified strongly with the 
scene and with the people involved but has not shown much interaction 
within the group. This child is obviously socially conscious of the environ- 
ment, for not only is the particular setting portrayed but also we see dif- 
ferences in clothes, an awareness of everyone's being in the rain, and also 
the rain, boots, and puddles indicate an awareness of the child's relation- 
ship to his environment. 

The ability of children to participate in group activities can readily 
be seen when children work on such topics as "We Are Making a Dairy 
Farm." We mentioned that children of this age have the urge to work in 
group activities, but the child who withdraws from such activities may 
need this social experience the most. To a great extent democracy is based 
upon social action. A child who avoids the group and who is unable to 
relate to his own experiences in his drawings may need to have some 
support from the teacher in order to develop a greater social growth. 
Such experience as being in charge of a section of a mural may be of value. 
Certainly the individual's contribution to the group should be recognized, 
and a sensitive teacher can insure that each child is able to participate. It 
is very apparent that changes in drawing and painting will come about 
naturally when a child has experienced greater interaction in group 
activities. Pointing out that his figures do not relate one to another, would 
only make the child unsure of his own creative abilities and would be 
absolutely against the basic premises of art education. It is only through 
the child himself and the interaction with the environment and with people 
that significant changes will take place in creative productions. 

The child who painted Plate 7 ranks high in perceptual growth. The 
child's growing visual awareness and her beginning feelings for nature are 
part of her perceptual growth. One of the first indications of a child's 
visual awareness is expressed by the inclusion of the horizon line and the 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 211 

painting of the sky to meet this Hne. Here, we can see that the child has 
become very aware of depth, even though no sky is indicated. Another 
aspect of visual perception is expressed by the child's awareness of over- 
lappings, and here we see not only overlapping of people but overlapping 
of objects. There is also a visual awareness of differences in color, although 
as we might expect during this age, there is no particular awareness of 
light and shade. Also the hemline continues to remain straight, at least 
in this particular illustration. The child has an advanced awareness of 
detail, which can be observed in the raincoats and in the background 
houses. Certainly the encouragement of perceptual sensitivity is a vital 
part of any art experience. 

There are also indications of aesthetic growth in this picture. Notice the 
conscious awareness of design in the umbrellas. Not only are these interest- 
ing in themselves, but they nicely repeat colors that are used elsewhere 
in the drawing. Aesthetic growth can also be seen in the way children 
relate the material to the subject matter; that is, how sensitive are they 
to the qualities of the material with which they are working, and to what 
extent does the subject matter reflect this awareness? Children of this age 
are now a great deal more aware of the nature of the clay, paint, or crayon 
with which they are working. Using a material to its fullest extent and 
utilizing its intrinsic qualities is a characteristic of aesthetic sensitivity. 
Children who work with clay as a flat drawing material are not aware of 
the distinctive qualities of clay. Apparently our artist who drew "Standing 
in the Rain" was very aware of the possibilities crayon could afford. 

Certainly one of the most important areas of growth to which art can 
contribute is that of creative growth. During this stage of development 
there is a great deal of pressure put upon children to conform not only to 
the wishes of adults but also to the demands of the group. To function 
creatively, however, one must be able to function as an individual. This 
means that imitation and conformity to patterns outside the self must be 
discouraged. The encouragement of the individual child's own approach 
to working out problems is vital in this area. To what extent a child is 
creative at this age can be seen by the desire shown for experimentation, 
exploration, and invention. A child who is rigid or does not utilize 
material in new ways needs to be encouraged in his flexibility. Encouraging 
new and different ways to use materials and rewarding the interesting 
stipple or the effect of one color being placed over another will be a 
positive step in the direction of supporting creative growth. 

Summary of the Art of the Gang Age 

During the schematic stage we noticed that children had the need to 
repeat the same symbol again and again. Now, however, the repetition of 
form should gradually disappear, and there should be a greater develop- 
ment of new forms or shapes that are not constantly repeated. Working 
in unfamiliar materials can often have a positive eflfect upon drawings and 
paintings. Children who have worked in collage materials may become 
much more aware of a variety of texture and forms and be able to transfer 
this awareness into a painting medium. Art should certainly give support 
for individual expression and creative thinking. 

In summarizing this stage, it appears obvious that art can contribute 
to total development. One of the greatest needs of children during this 
period is to find themselves, to realize their own power, and to develop 
their own relationships within their own group. Second is the need for 
the child to discover his own sincere relationship to his environment and 
to objects and materials that make up this environment as we have dis- 
cussed them. There are no short cuts to the development of perceptual 
abilities or creative growth. Although the range of individual differences 
can be very great, the end product should be viewed only as an indication 
of individual development. Standards of value should never come from 
the teacher, nor should group influences be so strong as to dictate a par- 
ticular kind or type of product. We have seen that growth affects the 
products and also affects the aesthetic awareness of children, and any 
standards outside the child become false. 

As we have gained a greater understanding of this peer group age, we 
can readily see how the teaching of particular techniques in art may stand 
in the way of children exploring and experimenting for themselves. As 
adults we help a great deal in the physical development of children by 
providing them with the proper nutrients and the place and encouragement 
for the development of the necessary physical skills; in the same way we 
as adults should provide the essential ingredients for children's artistic de- 
velopment, but we can not do this developing for them. 

Related Activities 

1. Collect the drawings of a fourth grade class and tabulate how many chil- 
dren depend upon base line concept. How many use more than one base 
line? Have any children begun to use the space below the base line as a 

The Dawning Realism: The Gang Age 213 

plane? Compare these figures with drawings from the fifth gr^ade, the sixth 

2. Save the drawings of a third grade child over a period of several months. 
Trace the development of a symbols from representation using geometric 
lines to a representation more closely related to nature. 

3. Observe several group activities within a school setting at several grade 
levels. Which activities were the most productive? Which were most satis- 
factory from the child's point of view? Analyze the reasons why some 
activities were more successful than others. 

4. Make a list of materials used in a fourth grade art program. Revise this 
list according to the meaningfulness of these art materials for expression at 
these age levels. Compare this list with what is appropriate at the kinder- 
garten level. 

5. Make a list of examples of the growing awareness of children for design 
and textural pattern in their drawings. Pay particular attention to clothing 
and objects important to the artist. Are there any sex differences? How 
does the extent of awareness compare with academic ability? 

6. In working with clay, how many children model analytically (by pulling 
out from the whole) and how many synthetically (putting parts together)? 

7. Keep a record of which children begin to make the sky come down to the 
base line. What is the first realization of overlapping beyond this initial 
step? Are these the same children who are also more socially developed? 


1. Agatha H. Bowley, Guiding the Normal Child (New York: Philosophical 

Library, 1943). 

2. Viktor Lowenfeld, The Nature of Creative Activity, rev. ed. (New York: 

Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952). 


The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage; 

The Stage of Reasoning, 
Eleven to Thirteen Years 

The pseudo-naturalistic stage of development is one of the most exciting 
and yet one of the most trying in the field of art. Since children of this 
age span the years from the usual elementary school into the junior high 
school level, and since for many of these children this will be the last 
formal public school art they receive, the importance of this level cannot 
be minimized. This age is also referred to as the period of pubescence or 
preadolescence. This is a time when girls start to develop mature sexual 
characteristics but boys do not. It is a time for seeking greater inde- 
pendence from adults and a time for following the demands of the 
"crowd." The child, although maybe the term child no longer applies, 
strives to be as much like his peers as possible, even to the extent of 
following fads and refusing to wear appropriate clothes and insisting on 
having his hair just so. It is also a period of great individual differences; 


The Psettdo-Nciiuralistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 215 

although this is most noticeable in physical differences, it is also true in 
the mental, emotional, and social areas as well. 

Shortly the adolescent will be faced with the problem of finding him- 
self as a person in relation to the adult world. Before he arrives at that 
stage, however, we get the awakenings of a critical awareness and the 
beginnings of a half-understood and not entirely welcome change in 
status. This is an age when emotion and strong feelings begin to be 
expressed, when the adult word is no longer accepted as gospel, when he 
begins to find that he is not a child, but is also very sure he is not an adult. 
The role of art in this stage of development should be both strong and 
clear: to give support to his individuality, to provide a socially accepted 
release for his emotions and tensions, and to ease the transition from the 
expression of a child to the type of expression expected of an adult. 

The significance of this stage can better be understood when we con- 
sider it a preparatory stage to the approaching crisis of adolescence. After 
the child has properly gone through the gang age, he enters a stage in 
which he has developed intellectually to the point where he can tackle 
almost any problem; yet in his reactions he still is a child. The difference 
between children and adults can best be seen in the diversity of their 
imaginative activity. This can be observed in the different types of playing. 
The child may play hide-and-seek with abandon; with the same unaware- 
ness he may move a pencil up and down while imitating the noises of an 
airplane. Such unawareness is characteristic of children. Quite obviously, 
their imagination transforms a pencil into an airplane. All children use 
their imagination in such an uninhibited way; if an adult were to do the 
same he would be considered insane. For an adult a pencil is a pencil and 
the pencil is for writing. The child's imaginative activity is unconscious. 
The adult's imaginative activity in its effect is controlled. This change 
in the imaginative activity from the unconscious to critical awareness, 
signaled by physical changes in the body, is one of the most important 
characteristics of the crisis of adolescence. 

One parent recalls this stage of development with his own child in the 
following words: 

"When Tommy, my son, was in this stage, of course he was a member 
of a gang, he had his fun, he had his group of children. He was always 
tall and a little bit out of proportion to the other children, but he didn't 
even recognize that, he didn't see it. He associated with younger children 
who were not as tall. He had his wooden gun, or his wooden stick — and 
enjoyed playing. But there came a time when I came home from my 


office — when I saw that when I approached the house he sort of tried to 
hide the gun, and I said, 'Why don't you play with the children?' and he 
said, 'Oh, I think — isn't it silly?' I said, 'No, not silly at all, why don't 
you play with them? It is fun, isn't it?' And when I went into the house, 
of course he went on engaging in his pretend-to-be games. He felt again 
as though he were no longer being watched, and since the smaller children 
accepted him in the group — in the gang — well, he continued the game. 
But these interruptions became more frequent as he grew older, and 
I could see him with his wooden gun, sitting there and watching them 
playing pretend-to-be games, now and then participating or giving orders, 
but already standing outside. Until one day he put the wooden gun he had 
so carefully whittled into the basement, but still he could not part with it. 
Sometimes he went downstairs trying to improve it, but he no longer 
associated with the group, just watched them." 

The important question will be. How can we prepare the child most 
properly for this change so that he can continue his creative production 
in spite of his critical awareness? Or, in other words. How can we 
prepare the child to create in such a way that he looks with pride on his 
work instead of being ashamed of it? During this stage, for the first time, 
the attention has to be shifted from the importance of the working process 
to an increased emphasis on the final product. Thus, the final art product 
becomes more and more significant with increasing age. This recognition 
of the growing significance of the final product is a clear demand on the 
part of youth, and it must be accepted by educators. 

A healthy body can overcome the aftereffects of an operation much 
easier than a weakened body, therefore, it is important to strengthen the 
body before undergoing a contemplated operation. We take this procedure 
for granted when dealing with a physical crisis, but it is all too often 
neglected in cases of emotional disturbances. Neither art educators nor 
psychologists give the necessary attention to preparing the child for the 
crises of adolescence. Yet this stage of reasoning is the appropriate period 
for such physical and psychological conditioning. 

Since art education affects the whole individual, his thinking, feeling, 
and perceiving, the teacher has an excellent opportunity to influence 
changes. Thus he may be able to help youth to overcome an important 
part of this crisis. Most commonly this change is seen in the fact that 
children are highly spontaneous, whereas adults, because of their critical 
awareness toward their imaginative activity, generally lose their spontane- 
ous creative ability. 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 217 

Another psychologically important factor deserves consideration. The 
closer we study adolescence, the more we see a distinction in the sensory 
reactions of the children toward their artistic experiences. We see clearly 
a preference by some children for visual stimuli; some others may be more 
concerned with the interpretation of subjective experiences. Visual experi- 
ences are defined as those that refer to our optical senses. They are con- 
cerned with the dijETerences of color, light, and shadows, introduced 
through atmospheric conditions as well as with the perspective interpreta- 
tion of space. Subjective interpretations are those that emphasize the 
emotional relationship to the external world in reference to the body self. 
Visually minded mdividuals refer in their pictures to environment, 
whereas nonvisually minded individuals are the expressionists. Children 
who have a preference for visual experiences feel as spectators, looking at 
their work from outside, and are more impressionists. Subjectively minded 
people feel involved in their work. As we approach the crisis of adoles- 
cence, during which preferences toward these different experiences 
crystallize, we have to pay increasing attention in our motivation to both 
of these important experiences. We would discourage a visually minded 
person by motivating him in referring to subjective experiences, emotional 
qualities, or body experiences; in the corresponding way we would inhibit 
a subjectively minded person if we were to motivate him by mere visual 
experiences. Since traditional art education is mainly built upon visual 
stimuli, a great part of our young people must feel not only neglected but 
frustrated. Many art educators use visual stimulations throughout the 
secondary level, not realizing that modern expressionist art is a clear in- 
dication of the importance of nonvisual stimuli in our present-day life. 
Indeed, most of the children react in both ways, with a preference for one 
or the other kjnd of experience. The knowledge of this fact together with 
the increasing shift of emphasis from the working process to the final 
product is of vital importance for art educators and educators in general 
who deal with this age level. A more detailed analysis will follow in the 
section "Art Motivation." 

The Representation of the Human Figure 

We would naturally expect that changes in the representation of the 
human figure would follow the increased awareness and concern with 
changes that are beginning to take place in the bodies of the preadolescent 





Figure 63. Notebooks and scraps of paper often reveal a child's interest 
and concern with himself and things around him. This form of spon- 
taneous art expression should not be repressed. 


The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 219 

period. Since girls tend to develop earlier than boys, we usually find the 
greatest interest in drawing the human figure among 'the girls. As 
biological changes occur, we find greater interest in drawing spontaneously 
in notebooks, on scraps of paper, or on book covers (see Figure 63). 
Usually the sexual characteristics of these drawings are greatly over- 
exaggerated, reflecting the concern of these children over their physical 
development. Often these drawings are concealed from adults, and in 
some cases a sense of guilt or shame accompanies these drawings. We will 
discuss later how the interest in the body can be used to an advantage in 
the art program. 

At this point it might be well to mention the interest in drawing animals. 
It is especially true of girls that a great deal of interest can sometimes 
be focused upon drawing horses (see Figure 64). It is not necessary at 
this time to delve into the underlying reasons for this, except to say that 
by now children have generally lost their anxiety about animals and often 
project their own feelings into some animal form, and this identification 
with the dashing, romantic horse can also be used as a strong motivating 
force in art education. The emotional and psychological concerns of 
children of this age need to have constructive outlets, and at any age the 
feelings and concerns of an individual are the basis of true art expression. 

Children who tend to be visually minded will strive for greater 
naturalism in their drawing of the human figure. That is, they will become 
more aware of the changing optical effects experienced in different light, 
space, and atmospheric conditions. From this viewpoint the drawing of 
clothes will become naturalistic as soon as the changing effects that 
take place when we sit down are observed: the clothes fold or wrinkle 
at the bent parts, lights and shadows are determined by the changes of 
the sitting body, and so forth. Until he reaches this stage, the child usually 
employs clothes only for characterizations, to show that "This is a girl" 
and "This a man." Henceforth we shall see that the visual child gradually 
develops the urge to add optical changes. 

The child begins to observe visually; thus visual observation starts 
where mere characterization ends. There is generally a confusion between 
visual experiences on the one hand and mere recognition or characteriza- 
tion on the other. Stating that the dress is red does not imply a visual 
analysis any more than the bare statement "The boy wears pants." Both 
statements are mere characterizations. They will become visual experi- 
ences as soon as the changes of red according to light, shadow, and distance 
are obseved or when the changing appearance of the "pants" while the 
boy is running or otherwise in motion are recognized. 

\ • 



• • 

Figure 64. Girls frequently like to draw horses; 
these are by an eleven-year-old girl. 

Thus, observation is not the mere abiHty to see or recognize. It is the 
ability to analyze the visual image in its changing effects in space. One 
of the first signs of the discovery of these changing effects is the drawing 
of joints. Usually, at this time, children desire to include joints in their 
drawings of the human figure. If this is noticed by the teacher, he should 
include motions in which the use of the joints is important in his motiva- 

In later stages this age level notices more detail. The child may even 
observe that clothes change with different motions. The visually minded 
child will start to concentrate more upon appearance. He will be eager to 
include "correct" proportions and motions. He will use exaggeration less 
frequently as a means of expression. 

Whereas the visually minded child concentrates more on the whole and 
its changing effect, the nonvisually minded child concentrates more on 
the details in which he is emotionally interested. In his interpretation of 
expressions he still uses the method of exaggerating important parts. The 
visually minded child sees the human figure as a whole, while the non- 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 221 

visually minded is particularly concerned with the details which are 
emotionally significant to him. Thus he refers more to the self and his 
body feeling than to the exterior qualities. His creative work belongs to 
the art of expressionism. 

Since the best motivation is the one that is the most meaningful to the 
child, it is important to stimulate the child in the direction of his think- 
ing and feeling. Thus, it not only would be fruitless to divert a child from 
his own feeling and perceiving but would be frustrating to him, for it 
would confront him with experiences he could not comprehend. Mere 
visual stimuli would just as much frustrate one group as stimuli that 
refer to the body self and its emotions would inhibit another group, al- 
though most children react in both ways. In a good motivation, visual 
effects are just as important as the emphasis on body experiences, expres- 
sions, and emotions. 

The Development of Two Different Space Concepts 

We also find differences in approaches to the representation of space, 
depending upon whether a child has a preference for visual experiences or 
nonvisual experiences. A great number of children will tend toward both 
characteristics in their creative expressions, depending upon numerous 
factors, one of which is the degree to which a child is stimulated by the 
subject matter. However, we commonly find a preference for one type 
of experience or the other. Only for the purpose of clarifying these dif- 
ferences in experience are the two concepts discussed separately. 


One of the important discoveries for the visually minded is the ap- 
parent diminution of distant objects. Closely related is the meaning of 
the horizon. With the recognition of distance, space in its three-dimensional 
qualities moves intuitively into the focal point of interest of the visually 
minded child. The child merely follows his growing innate demand 
and power of observation. With it, light and shadows in their changing 
effects begin to come into the mental picture of the child. All this is done 
without awareness. Therefore, the teacher should know that stimulation 
of optical changes in space is not to be given on the conscious level of 
perspective and "constructing" three-dimensional effects, unless the child 
asks for it. 


The seeing of depth must be discovered by the child. To take this dis- 
covery from him by "explaining" perspective would deprive him of an 
important experience. The teacher must capitalize on the child's own 
findings and start on the child's own level. "What makes the tree more 
distant in your drawing?" Let the child become aware of his own dis- 
coveries: that he has drawn the tree smaller, because distant objects 
appear to be smaller to us; that he has included less detail, because we do 
not see as many details in distant objects; that he has given it a less intense 
color, because the air in between makes the color appear less bright. All 
this the child should find out for himself. It should be used as a frame of 
reference for later experiences that may be less simple. "I want the road 
going to the house in the background, but it looks funny" may be a re- 
mark a teacher hears. "Let's see whether the road is doing the same as the 
tree" would be a good starting point, using a previous experience for new 
discoveries. The child will soon find for himself that the road as it goes 
into the distance should grow smaller (that is, narrower) in his drawing 
as the tree does. It may also be less intensive in color. Such discoveries 
should always be supported by real experiences in nature. The teacher 
has no right to deprive the child of his own discoveries. On the contrary, 
he must pave the way in providing the child with the right stimulus when- 
ever the need for it arises. 

Much of the precious creative unawareness of the child has been spoiled 
by teachers who are too eager to see a child's taste adjusted to an adult's 
taste. However, it is necessary to prepare the child for the stages of 
critical awareness before this awareness has set in. The change from the 
unconscious creative approach to the stage of critical awareness has to 
occur gradually. The more gradually the child can move from one stage 
into the other, the less is the shock the child suffers from the results of 
the changes in his imaginative thinking. Thus, if we can motivate the 
child in such a way that he comes in his unaware stages close to the concept 
he will finally attain, we have succeeded in bridging the gap between the 
unconscious approaches of preadolescence and the approaches of critical 
awareness that start during adolescence. It is, therefore, a question of 
preserving the child's spontaneous creative power beyond the critical stages 
of adolescence. // we can do this, we have not only saved one of the 
greatest gifts of mankjnd, the ability to create freely, but we have also 
\ept one of the most important attributes necessary for proper adjustment 
— flexibility. 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 223 


It has been observed in many cases that children who have advanced 
beyond the base-Hne concept at some point return to the very same kind 
of space concept. This retrogression to a former concept can only be 
understood if we study higher art forms of nonvisual art. There we would 
see that the base-line concept is no longer an unconscious "childish con- 
cept." In Egyptian, Assyrian, or medieval art expression, the base line 
becomes the vehicle of space representations. In this light, base-line expres- 
sions represent a higher form of nonvisual consciousness, not a retrogres- 
sion. Indeed, the new base-line representations are the forerunners of a 
more conscious nonvisual art expression. The retrogression, therefore, is 
only apparent. It is in reality the very same step into the nonvisual sphere 
as the three-dimensional tendency of space representation is in the realm 
of visual perception. 

In general we see that the nonvisually minded children concentrate in 
their representations more on the expression of the self and the emotions 
resulting from it. For them space has significance only if it is necessary 
for their expression. We will be able to distinguish visually minded chil- 
dren from the nonvisually minded merely by the choice of representation. 
The visually minded child prefers environment, feels like a spectator. The 
nonvisually minded child concentrates more on the self and draws environ- 
ment only when it has emotional significance for him. 

Figures f)5 and ()() show dramatic illustrations from the Bible. Moses 
strikes the rock that water might gush forth. Such stories should be told 
in such a way that environment and dramatic action are emphasized 
equally. Strong sentiments and feelings in the characters must be 
developed in the same way as mood, terrain, and atmosphere. Here also 
the two different reactions toward experiences can clearly be seen. In 
Figure 65, the painting by a nonvisually minded child, the experiences are 
centered in Moses alone and how in his anger he struck the rock so that 
water should emerge. Figure 66, on the other hand, the painting of a 
visually minded child, shows us a "spectacle." How grand it is to see that 
water flows out of the rock! In Figure 65 nothing but experience of the 
self is embodied. The experience of form is intensely personal and finds its 
strongest expression in the lineaments of Moses. In Figure 66 we feel that 
we are taking part in this great moment as spectators. In the former 
everything has been concentrated on expression and gesture; in the latter 
it is the arrangement of the figures, the rich colors, the motions of the 



Figure 65, "Moses Strikes the Rock," as represented by a 
nonvisually minded thirteen-year-old boy. The boy feels 
as if he were striking the rock. 

Figure 66. "Moses Strikes the Rock," as represented by a 
visually minded thirteen-year-old boy. This boy feels as 
if he were a spectator at the scene. 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 225 

people, the water, the sky, and the environment — all that is visually 
perceivable — that has become the main problem of representation. We 
see the enormous efifect the miracle had on the crowd. Some people have 
jars with which to fetch water, others are drinking it directly from the 
earth. Nowhere in this picture, however, do we perceive those intense per- 
sonal sensations that hold our attention in Figure 65, in which even the 
water, the only object except the person of Moses, has been drawn in a 
compact mass as though it could be grasped rather than seen. The fact that 
in this picture the arm has been added later, also shows clearly the synthetic 
mode of procedure characteristic of nonvisual expression. This will be 
discussed in greater detail in the next chapter. 

It should be emphasized that many children will be affected by both 
visual and nonvisual experiences. Although the child who is more 
purely visually minded will relate figure spacing to the proportion of 
landscape, the nonvisually minded child will establish space relations 
mainly through his body feelings and emotions on which the picture 
is centered. Many children will of course include both types of stimulation 
within their painting. 

The Importance of Color 

The child does not develop in particular directions only but develops as 
a whole. However, in the interest of clarity, we discuss various trends 
separately. Space, color, and the self are fused in the creative development 
of the child and form a unity, a part of the total growth of the child. We 
see changing effects in color in relation to space and the representation 
of the human figure. Only the visually minded children show the tendency 
to see color in its changing effects. "This is green, red, or blue" means only 
that we can distinguish colors from one another. To have a percept of 
color means that we notice the changes color undergoes under different 
external conditions. The same color appears different in light and shadow. 
The surrounding colors reflect upon the focal color and make it seem 
different. Red in blue light looks different from red in orange light. Red 
in the distance looks different from red in the foreground. Red on dull 
days appears quite changed on bright days. Countless other factors 
impinge upon color to make it relative to prevailing conditions. To notice 
these changing effects is one of the attributes of visually minded in- 
dividuals. During this important period that precedes adolescence the 


visually minded child will begin to adjust colors to his visual impressions, 
whereas the nonvisually minded child depends greatly on his emotional 
reactions toward color. Yet we must be aware that most of the children 
are between the extremes, and may show both characteristics. 

Much has been written about the psychology of color and its emotional 
effects on individuals. Such emotional reactions to color are to a large 
extent determined associatively, through the effect of past experiences. 
Thus, to one individual, horror can mean red (he might associate it with 
blood), whereas to another it might be green (he might associate it with 
mold or decay). Psychology has made it evident that all rigid theories 
that refer emotional reactions to color are to a great extent outmoded. At 
least generalizations should not be applied to teaching that deny the 
child's right to creative approaches to color. Emotional reactions to color 
are highly individualized. The nonvisually minded child uses color often 
in contradiction to nature according to his individual emotional reaction. 
Color, therefore, becomes highly subjective in its meaning.-^ 

Also with color, the main problem during this age period is to find 
means to gradually lead the child to the stages of critical awareness. 
If we now can motivate the child effectively to see or feel color, we will 
prevent him from being disappointed at his "inability" to express his 
mental picture. How this can effectively be done will be discussed in the 
section on motivation. 

The Importance of Design 

With an increased awareness of form and pattern within the environ- 
ment a conscious approach toward design becomes increasingly important. 
Whereas the visually minded child will more and more be concerned with 
the aesthetic function of design, expressed by the feeling for color schemes, 
rhythm, and balance, the nonvisually minded child will more and more 
show a tendency to either work directly with materials and use them 
functionally or concentrate more on emotional abstractions. Both groups 
should be given the type of motivation needed for developing properly. 
Burdening them with theories at this time would be out of place; the only 
effect would be an inhibited reaction at a time when children still proceed 
freely in their creative work. We shall see in the section "Art Motivation" 
how design and color may be closely interwoven. 

The visually minded child might start to relate forms of nature to de- 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 227 

sign. Many shapes, patterns, and forms in shells, wood, moss, or other 
objects in nature can provide the stimulation for design experiences. 
Since the laws of symmetry are more related to dogmatic periods of 
history, including periods of symbolism, it seems to be more and more 
out of place when individualism, emotions, and social changes dominate 
in our lives. Consequently, free forms or nature forms created by the child 
should be used for design purposes. 

During this period the child should be made aware of industrial products 
as examples of good functional use of different materials. From the 
kitchen utensil and furniture to the streamlined car or machine, the 
child should learn how design is adapted to material. The child should be 
given an opportunity to use all types of scraps creatively, even if it is only 
for the pleasure of working out forms or shapes in different materials 
without relating them to a definite purpose. 

If a potter's wheel is obtainable, the child will enjoy operating it. How- 
ever, the child should be allowed to experiment with the wheel without 
being hampered by too many technical procedures. Skill and body co- 
ordinations definitely will greatly improve the child's confidence in his 
abilities, which is of vital importance. The creation of forms that can 
stand the critical evaluation of the adolescent will further help to bridge 
the gap between childhood and adolescence. 

Modeling — Two Different Approaches 

The meaning of modeling during this preparatory stage is of special 
significance. Here, better than in any other field, we can build a bridge 
between the unconscious approach to three-dimensional expression 
(which we called modeling) and the conscious approach (which we shall 
call sculpturing). This can be done easier in clay than in painting, since 
the difference between modeling and sculpturing is not as great as the 
difference in the approaches to painting, in which, especially for the visually 
minded, the whole transfiguration from the plane into three-dimensional 
space takes place. No change of such importance can be seen in clay work. 
Therefore, it is much easier to prepare the child in this field to face his 
work with critical awareness, with confidence, and without the shock 
that endangers his further creative production. 

Since environment is excluded or, at least, minimized in sculpturing, 
visually minded and nonvisually minded children face the same subject 


Figure 67. "Cow and Calf," modeled by a thirteen- 
year-old girl. 

matter. This also contributes greatly to make modeling a particularly 
effective means of stimulation (see Figure 67). The child should be lead 
from modeling to sculpturing in such a way that he does not become aware 
of this transition. This can best be done by modeling from real or imagina- 
tive poses. In real poses a person is posing throughout the session. An 
imaginative pose is one in which the person or the student subjectively 
poses only in the beginning of the art period as a means of motivation, but 
the actual modeling is done without the pose. The pose serves only as 
stimulus and control. The latter procedure, if well handled, is by far 
the better one. In both cases, however it is necessary to give the pose a 
definite meaning: "A Man Carrying a Heavy Load," "A Scrubwoman," 
"Tired," and so forth. The procedure of motivation will be discussed in 
the following section. If we did not give the pose a meaning, we would 
frustrate those children who have a preference for emotional interpretation. 
The difference between the visually minded and subjectively minded 
approaches can be seen both in the working process and in the choice 
of subject matter. The visually minded group will concentrate on the 
changing shapes and forms caused by the differences of the motions of 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 229 

the posing figure. The nonvisually minded will use the posing figure 
merely as a stimulus and will model their subjective experiences of 
"A Man Carrying a Heavy Load," "A Scrubwoman," and so forth. In 
observing the working method, we see that the visually minded uses more 
and more the analytic method of pulling out the details from the whole. 
When we think of a tree, we first think of the tree in its entirety and 
then of the details — the structure of the bark, the branches, the kind of 
twigs, and the foliage. The synthetic method, that of putting parts to- 
gether, will be used primarily by the nonvisually minded child. His 
thinking relates to the details that are of emotional significance." He 
builds up his final impression out of a synthesis of partial impressions. It 
is therefore of vital significance not to divert to the analytic process a 
child who uses the synthetic method. We would only disturb or frustrate 
the child's thinking. 

In the same way that we encourage the visually minded child in his 
modeling by directing his attention to the visual changes of form, we 
encourage the nonvisually minded individual by stimulating subjective 
experiences. This way we gradually move from the unconscious form of 
modeling to the conscious approach of sculpturing. Scenes such as Indian 
villages containing Indians do not satisfy the needs of approaching critical 
awareness. Modeling should shift gradually to sculpturing by eliminating 
all illustrative tendencies and by concentrating on the motion and ex- 
pressiveness of the human figure. 

Art Motivation 

Since this stage is of special significance for the development of the 
child, especially during the crisis of adolescence, the following generaliza- 
tions will indicate the issues involved. As is the case throughout this de- 
velopmental level, the most important contribution art education can make 
toward the adjustment of personality is to help bridge the gap between 
childhood and adulthood. The more gradually this can be done, the less 
this period will be characterized by disappointments, frustrations, or even 
shocks. As we have previously said, one of the characteristics of adolescence 
is the change of the imaginative activity from uncontrolled to controlled. 
He "can't draw anything" because his sudden critical awareness realizes 
the "inefficient" childish approach. The drawing expression seems childish 
and ridiculous because of the sudden awakening of an adult attitude. 


The problem is how to ma\e this change gradual. If we can develop 
the child's unaware production to such an extent that it reaches a "creative 
maturity," which will be able to stand the critical awareness that will set 
in, we have kept the child from making a sudden change and from dis- 
appointments in his changing imaginative activity. In general this can 
be done by making the child aware of his own achievements at a time 
when he is not yet aware of them. The graph indicates more clearly the 
effect of proper art motivation. 




Line of 











Shift from 

to controlled 

Line of 







Meaning of good art stimulation during period of "reasoning." 

Normal curve without good stimulation stops for below the 
"line of controlled activity" thus creating a gap of indecision. 

A AA/SA Characterization of fluctuation between childlike unawareness 
/VV and the controlled activity of adults. 

Smooth curve of the 'genius who gradually moves into the 

stages of "critical awareness" usually at a much earlier age. 

If we did not prepare the child for the oncoming crisis of adolescence, 
he would fluctuate greatly between unaware and controlled reactions as 
is indicated by the zigzag line in the graph. Such unstable behavior is typi- 
cal for a crisis. The child feels torn between his childish reactions and his 
intellectual control. On the one hand he is ashamed to participate in 
childish play activities although emotionally he would love to participate 
in them, and on the other he cannot participate in adult activities because 
he is not accepted as an adult. How often do we see those "lonely" boys 
who whittle all by themselves or those girls who play with their dolls 
"secretly," because they would not officially participate in childish play 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 231 

activities and at the same time have not found social acceptance as adults. 

The more we can raise the child's awareness during the stage of 
reasoning without doing undue harm to his creativity, the more do we 
condition the child to facing the crisis of adolescence properly. In the 
graph this raising of awareness is indicated by the dotted lines, which show 
the different degrees of rise. In the motivation this is as simple as this: 
"Johnny, tell me, hotv did you get this purple color.?" or "Mary, tell me, 
what did you do to make your house look that distant?" or "Joe, how did 
you get this tense feeling in your figure?" It simply means making the 
child aware of his otvn achievements. 

It is understood that such motivations must never occur during the 
creative process. There they would greatly interfere with the intuitive 
character of art. They must always occur afterward. 

According to available evidence no such fluctuation occurs in the genius 
during adolescence. As indicated in the graph he moves smoothly from 
a stage of lesser maturity and perfection to one of greater. For example, 
the preadolescent Diirer and Mozart had the characteristics of the more 
mature artist. More research would be necessary to determine whether 
this characteristic can be used for purposes of guidance and prediction. 

If in the following discussion on motivation a distinction is made 
between visually and nonvisually minded children, it should be borne in 
mind that these two groups are by no means distinctly divided. On the 
contrary, as has been pointed out before, and documented by research, 
these groups are on a continuum, frequently intermixed with a preference 
toward the one or other experience. It would be artificial to exaggerate a 
dichotomy. They are discussed separately only for clarification. 


For the visually minded the critical awareness during adolescence de- 
mands the drawing of correct proportions and motions with their chang- 
ing eflfects. The nonvisually minded require greater concentration on 
gesture and expression. How can we stimulate these factors without doing 
harm to the unaware, creative approach of the child? Three approaches 
are particularly valuable during this period. Proportions must never be 
measured. Such a procedure would only inhibit further creative work, 
since rigid methods are the death of any creative work. Therefore, means 
of motivation should be found that make the child experience the correct 
kind of proportion. This can best be done by the choice of topics. Topics 
that compare the sizes of the self to environment are best suited for such 


purposes. Although it will not be useful to lead the child's attention 
consciously to the fact of comparing sizes, it will be important to include 
this factor in the discussion. As an example, we give this special emphasis 
to the topic "Fighting the Fire in a Burning House." After asking, "Who 
has seen a house burning?" we will receive many descriptions of burning 
houses. These many descriptions should have a proper balance of visual 
and nonvisual experiences. Some children will be attracted by the 
beauty of the flames and their glowing colors, others will "feel" with the 
people who were living in the house and will become emotionally involved 
in the fate of those who lost their belongings. Still other children will be 
more concerned with the technical procedures of lighting the flames. 
Especially the boys may become interested in this element. But at all times 
we have opportunities to direct attention to comparative proportions with 
questions. "How high did we have to climb to fight the fire?" "Did 
people jump out of the window?" "From what height did they jump?" 
"How long was the firemen's hose?" "How far up could the hoses reach 
without climbing the ladder?" Such questions will inspire both groups: 
the visually minded because they become visually aware of the comparative 
proportions, and the nonvisually because they refer in their drawings to 
the body actions and its emotional qualities. Many other topics like 
"Sitting Under a Tree," "Reaching for an Apple on a Tree," "Sitting in a 
Rowboat," "Looking Out the Window" and so forth, will stimulate the 
child to compare sizes. However, any "correction" of proportions by the 
teacher would only frustrate the child. If the child does not react to the 
mentioned stimuli, it is only a sign that the child is not affected by them. 
An imposition would not help him in his experience. However, his aware- 
ness may develop slowly. 

The second approach suitable to prepare the child for the coming 
critical awareness of sizes and proportions is the use of posing models as 
a means of motivation. Here, too, we must give both groups a possibility 
for self-expression. That is why the posing model should be given a 
meaning, as has been said before. As an example, we cite a particular 
pose, "Feeling Tired from Work." "Have you ever worked very hard? 
Have you ever watched people who do heavy physical work? When? 
Have you yourself ever really been physically exhausted? What had you 
been doing? How did you feel?" (Let the boy or girl pose, assuming a 
tired-out attitude.) "I notice you are not standing straight and tall! Why? 
How do your hands, back, and feet feel ? Why do you have your head and 
shoulders bent?" 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 233 

All these questions will bring the pose into a higher consciousness. For 
both groups it will be of benefit if the posing model does not keep the 
pose. The visually minded will have to concentrate much more on their 
visual experience to retain the image, and the nonvisually minded will 
use the posing model only as a stimulus, concentrating entirely on ex- 
pression, that is, on the mental picture he has formed, which is a result 
of his body feelings and emotional experiences. 

The third approach for getting the representation of the human figure 
more closely related to that of the adolescent stages deals with a method 
of modeling. It is most stimulating to first characterize the personality 
of the clay figure and then let it go through the motion as if it were a 
motion picture. For example: "A visitor (your grandpa) comes to see you. 
He sits down and tells you a story." First grandpa would be modeled as 
he arrives and would finally be put into the actual position of telling a 
story. "How does your grandpa sit when he tells you a story? Does he 
hold a book in his hand? Does he support his head? Does he stretch 
out his legs or does he cross them?" The plasticity of clay permits the 
expression of this kinesthetic experience. While going through the mo- 
tions, the child will grow more consciously aware of them, and in turn 
will bring himself closer to a more critical level of creative production. 


The motivation of spatial experiences again will have to be channeled 
in two directions: first, to prepare the visually minded child for a space 
concept that is more closely related to the adolescent concept of realizing 
the visual space; second, to prepare the nonvisually minded child for the 
importance of the emotional tie-up of space and the self. We know too 
well the frightening effect that the teaching of perspective has on some 
of our children. This effect is especially frightening for children who have 
no desire for such a space concept. This group, which is the nonvisually 
minded, has no comprehension of this way of perceiving space. There- 
fore, there is no need for including perspective in our art program as long 
as there is no demand for it from the children. 

For the visually minded, means of introducing a visual space concept 
should be found that exclude the dry teaching of technical data of per- 
spective. To do that, it is inspiring to refer to nonvisual means, to be- 
come aware of the different intensities of emotional experiences that are 
both far away and close to us. "What would happen if one among us 
were suddenly to die?" All children would immediately understand the 


tremendous intensity of this experience when it is closely related to us. 
At the same time the deaths of thousands of people on battlefields, in 
factories, and other places do not affect us much. The intensity of this 
experience grows and diminishes with the distance. Visual space, too, 
increases and diminishes in size and intensity, depending on the distance. 
However, in visual space this intensity depends only on the visual interest 
we take in objects close to us, whereas in emotional experiences we can 
focus our greatest interest even on things not close to us. Thus, the in- 
tensity of nonvisual space is governed by the emotions we associate with 
the experience. 

Most important, however, is that a good teacher must always start on 
the level of the individual and extend his frame of reference from there 
on. If for a child the expression of distant space (that is, perspective) 
has become important (see Figure 68), the teacher must support the child's 
desire by using the child's present understanding. It would, however, be 
entirely wrong to impose such knowledge on a child who has no desire 
for it. 


Naturalistic color — the color of the visually minded — can only be stimu- 
lated by actual experiences with nature. The different intensities — bright- 
ness and dullness and the character of colors in distance, shadows, and 
lights — can be brought into the consciousness only by observing them. 
Few children, and by no means all adults, can do that. We ourselves 
realize how little we see in comparison with some artists' concept of color. 
And some of us know that we are unable to see the "blue shadow" we 
are supposed to see according to the old method of teaching. Not all of 
us can. see the changing effects of colors, and there is no need for all of 
us to see them. What is a stimulation for one can be a frustration for 
another. There exist too many instances of frustrated children and un- 
happy adults, compelled to enroll in art classes in which they received 
visual stimuli only and in which they were forced to "see color." 

Personification of color is a method that can be used for both groups, 
though it will appeal more to the nonvisually minded children. By 
personification of color is meant the seeing and dealing with color as if 
it were a living being. For example, the telling of some such story as the 
following would be effective. 

"Imagine you feel very happy and want to go on a hike. Everything 
around you is marvelous, just wonderful. Environment is beautiful, bright. 

Figure 68. "Thinkinjj," drawn by a thirtccn-year-old boy. A need for visual perspec- 
tive is beginning to lie felt by this boy, who here achieves a representation of depth. 

and the atmosphere is happy. As you walk you see in the distance your 
friend, your most beloved friend, ^'ou thought how marvelous it would 
be to have him with you. And there he comes. Now you are talking about 
personal things, and you become so friendly that you feel very close to 


him. As you continue on your way, the atmosphere suddenly changes for 
the worse. It gets dark, dreary, and mysterious. As you go on, someone 
stops you on the way and tells you that you are not permitted to con- 
tinue; this road is not for you. 

"Now imagine that you are 'red' in this story. How does red feel in a 
marvelous environment, happy and bright? What color would you choose 
as an environment for red to make it happy? What color is the best 
friend of red, whom red expected to meet ? When red and his friend were 
talking so intimately, to which color would they unite? As they went on 
and the atmosphere darkened and the environment became mysterious, 
how would red change? How would its friend change? How would 
environment change? What color would come in their way and prohibit 
them from continuing?" 

Of course there are hundreds of such stories. Almost any story can be 
translated into "color." This personification introduces color as a living 
symbol. Verbal theory cannot give as good an introduction into the living 
qualities of color as such personifications. Such an introduction will also 
lead into an understanding of the nature of emotional abstract design. It 
is better than music as a means of stimulation, since we refer to real living 
qualities. Such an interpretation of color will be highly individualized. 

Through such methods the child will gain more confidence in his use 
of color and will approach it more consciously, which is vitally necessary 
for the proper adjustment to the coming stage, the crisis of adolescence. 


Between the ages of eleven and thirteen we find many new problems 
arising for youngsters, and many changes are occuring both in themselves 
and in their relationships to their peers and adults. For example, by the 
time a girl is thirteen, she may actually be taller than her mother. Both 
boys and girls are beginning to break numerous childhood ties to the 
family and begin to question adults' authority. There is, of course, great 
concern about personal appearance, and the gradual awakening to the 
simple fact that they too will soon be adults. There is a great deal of 
idealism, and romantic feeling about the freedom of becoming an adult 
member of society, but also some fear and insecurity about the beginning 
stages of leaving childhood. They may even invent their own society in 
which they reign supreme, free from adult domination. The imaginary 
country "Connia," seen in Figure 69, was obviously drawn by a girl named 
Connie who wore glasses. All these reasons call for a strong art program 
that will give ample opportunity for self-expression. 

Figure 69. "Connia," drawn by a twelve-year-old girl. The picture 
shows a strong desire for belonging. The artist projected her own 
image onto the total group. 

Girls are no longer making wars on boys but seem to be too much con- 
cerned with their development to be bothered. A handsome film star 
may be a safe idol for a girl of this age; however, she often is more 
interested in admiring the female stars. Boys are somewhat aware of the 
fact that girls are not always trash but are far from being ready to admit 
this. Instead boys collect baseball statistics, try to develop their muscular 
powers, and seek out boys who have comparable interests in such things 
as motorcycles, BB guns, radios, or even chess. 

In the preceding sections on motivation of the human figure, of space, 
and of color, the youngster would certainly express feelings about him- 
self, especially if he could identify with the model or could project his 
own feelings into a color. The stronger the motivation, the more involved 
a child will become. It is not diplomatic to say, "Put your innermost 
feelings down on paper about some adult whom you feel has treated you 
unjustly." Since many children have been taught that it is not nice to 
have unpleasant thoughts about people, and since in some cases these 
feelings may very well be directed at parents, it is usually best to let 


Figure 70. "The Hairy One," drawn by a twelve-year-old 
girl. By giving vent to her imagination, she had the oppor- 
tunity to release feelings of aggression. 


The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 239 

feelings of aggression, and in some cases love, be expressed unconsciously. 
A subject such as "The Ugliest Person in the World" would provide the 
opportunity for release of such feelings. "What would the ugliest person 
in the world look like ? Would he have smooth or rough skin ? Would he 
have a long or short nose? How about his ears? Would his teeth stick 
out? And his hair? What color would go well with him? Could the 
ugliest person be a woman?" (See Figure 70.) 

Both boys and girls at this age can develop an interest in particular 
individualistic subject matter. Boys may like to spend a considerable length 
of time drawing guns or airplanes, whereas girls may spend a comparable 
time drawing horses or fanciful figures. Whatever the particular interest 
of these youngsters, this interest can be capitalized upon in the art pro- 
gram by expanding the frame of reference. A project— making many 
different types of airplanes, jets, transport planes, helicopters, and fitting 
all of these into a larger background of airstrips, tankers, and people — 
can provide an excellent art experience. Other individual interests can be 
utilized in comparable fashion. 

Any art motivation should stress the individual's own contribution. At 
this stage of development it is important to reinforce individualistic 
thinking. An art program that is primarily concerned with productions 
may miss entirely one of the basic reasons for the existence of art in a 
school program, that is, the personal involvement of an individual and 
the opportunity for a depth of self-expression (see Figure 71). 

Subject Matter 

Any particular group of eleven to thirteen year olds will find some 
exciting subject matter material from within their own environment and 
experience. Care should be taken, however, to insure that any topic gives 
support to the child's individual expression, provides for a release of 
tensions, and helps bridge the gap between the childhood unaware ap- 
proach to art and the adolescent critical awareness. Occasionally topics 
are pushed upon the person responsible for an art program, topics that 
may actually be detrimental to the fostering of a meaningful art educa- 
tion program. Such topics as a poster for some local organization, the 
mass production of table decorations for the annual teachers' meeting, or 
the making of a monogram for the gym team may all be worthwhile 
activities, and if the teacher feels that he has time to do these himself, 


we will not complain. However, the art program has a much greater role 
than to fill its time with busy-work. 

The following list of topics should serve only as examples for the dif- 
ferent kinds of motivations and should be used flexibly. 

"Farmer Rushing Home Before the Storm" 
"Rowing a Boat on the Lake" 
"Fishing in the Stream Near Home" 
"Hunting in the Woods in the Fall" 
"Working on the Gymnastic Equipment" 
"Highway-Department Men Working on the Street" 
"Telephone Men Digging a New Post Hole" 

"Poor Woman Scrubbing a Floor" 
"Feeling Tired from Work" 
"Lifting a Heavy Load" 
"Waiting at the Corner for the Bus" 
"Worrying About My Homework at My Desk" 
"Being Lost in the City" 

"A Ladder Being Put Against a Burning House" 
"Having My Hair Cut" 
"Reaching for an Apple on a Tree" 
"Looking Out the Window" 
"Practicing on My Musical Instrument" 
"Washing the Family Car" 

"The Storm Gathers Above the Field" 
"Cold and Snow in Winter" 
"It's Dark and Windy Outside" 
"A Happy Feeling Inside Me" 
"Personification of Color" 

Figure 71. Depth of personal experience is of prime ir 
portance in art activity. The meaningfulness of an art pr 
gram can only be measured in terms of the individual. 



»• t ' .'l^t^vilOKM 



"Lunch in the School Cafeteria" (from preparing food to eating) 
"Our Newspapers" (from reporting to printing) 
"Landing on the Moon" (from blast-off to landing) 

Figure 72. A twig transformed by a covering 
of frost dramatically illustrates the pleasing 
forms and textures that surround us in 


Finding pleasing forms (in puddles, clouds, leaves, stones, shadows, 
twigs, wood grain, moss). (See Figure 72.) 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 243 

Collages (range of textures and colors for both abstract design and 
symbolic design) 

Abstract designs made from different materials to learn their function 
(wire, sheet metal, glass, wood, cardboard) 

Knowledge of industrial designs (utensils, furniture, flatware) 

Printing and repeat designs from natural forms on material 


From posing model (topics as discussed) 

Actions from imagination 

Kinetic motions: "Picking up My Room," "Mother Holding the Baby," 
"Getting Tired," "Sitting Down, Reading a Book" 

"The Ugliest Person in the World" 
"A Fierce Villain" 
"All Alone on a Dark, Cold Night" 
"A Good-Looking Movie Star" 
"What I Want Most to Do" 

Art Materials 

Technique is closely related to the need for expression. The material 
that does not help the child to express his particular desires is not a good 
one. During this period the visually minded child becomes more aware 
of the visual characteristics of his environment. The most suitable material 
will be one that easily permits the portrayal of effects in nature. 
Since atmosphere and sky in nature are not opaque but have a trans- 
parent character, a medium having such transparent qualities would be 
most suitable. This medium is water color. At this stage we can even 
encourage the child to make visual use of the happy accidents that occur 
when the colors in a sky run together and form clouds of difTerent shapes. 
At first the whole paper may be moistened with brush or hands before 
the child starts to paint. Since some children now approach paintings 
visually, such accidents as the formation of clouds or the mixing of colors 
will stimulate the child for his next work. Running of colors, which 


could have been most discouraging at a time when Unear representation 
dominated the preschematic or schematic stage, is now most stimulating. 

Referring to the quotation of Leonardo da Vinci to the effect that an 
art work should look complete in every stage will help in stimulating the 
visually minded child in building up a visual concept. The sequence in 
which a picture is painted can be of decided influence. For example, we 
are thinking of a painting in which farmers rush home before the rising 
storm. If we were to ask the child to stop painting after he has finished 
the stormy sky (which covers the whole sheet, of course), the sky as such 
could exist and could be called complete. If the child then added the field 
and we interrupted him, the picture again would look complete. The 
child might then add a barn or a tree and finally would paint the farmers 
in the foreground as they hurriedly leave the field. The picture has grown 
organically and looked complete at every stage. Besides that, we have the 
feeling that the sky is really behind the tree or the house without appear- 
ing to cut out the part of the sky covered by it. This organic growth of 
the picture is an important part of a method of approach that will help to 
bridge the gap to which we have referred during this period so frequently. 
In order to paint on the sky, the child must wait until it is dry; otherwise, 
the foreground would blur with the background. It is also of advantage 
to use opaque colors, such as tempera paint, for the foreground. This cre- 
ates a still stronger feeling for the transparency of the atmosphere and 
the opaque quality of objects (see Plate 8). 

For mural painting it is suggested that either egg tempera or ordinary 
poster paint be used. If possible, murals should be painted directly on the 
wall surface, but if this is not possible, good craft paper tacked on the 
wall or stretched on stretchers while it is moist (when it dries, it tightens) 
will serve very well. For painting directly on the wall, one or two coats 
of flat paint will serve as sizing. Bristle brushes for large spaces and hair 
brushes for details are advisable. Preferably, murals should not be care- 
fully planned at this age level because careful planning destroys much of 
the intuitive quality and reduces interest. A small sketch, which tells 
approximately what will be on the mural, will be sufficient. Children 
should have all possible freedom in painting and organizing murals. 
Often it is good practice to permit a group of children to work on one 
mural. It must be remembered that a mural is a decoration, of a wall and 
that it should tell a story or have a message. Sizes can differ according to 
importance. No further explanations need be given about the nature of a 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 245 

mural, but the teacher should have in mind that a purely naturalistic 
execution is contrary to the essence of decoration. 

The use of clay gradually shifts from modeling to sculpturing and 
pottery. Also here, especially with pottery, no preplanning should be 
done. Starting with a preconceived notion of the finished product when 
working on a potter's wheel is nearly impossible for the beginning student, 
for much depends upon the consistency of the clay, the speed of the wheel, 
and the positioning of the hands and body. 

Many of the art materials that have been discussed in earlier stages are 
also appropriate at this level. However, it is important to make sure that 
any materials used are also used by professional artists. That is, the child 
should be able to identify his work with those people who consider art a 
vocation rather than think of art in terms of children only. Exploring 
the qualities of charcoal and India ink with brush can stimulate an interest 
in the potential use of these materials. Exploring other possibilities, such 
as making papier-mache moon-men, paper bag puppets (see Figure 73), 
or plaster and wire space sculptures can get the most reluctant youngster 
readily involved in art materials. When the child "is encouraged to invent 
or imagine unusual forms, such as strange machines, environments, and 
animals" his imagination can definitely be boosted."* Such projects as 
making color wheels or doing lettering exercises had best be left for a 
time when these exercises become more meaningful. However, the occa- 
sional use of finger paint or chalk on a blackboard can sometimes re- 
kindle a fresh spontaneous approach to art. 

We have found that at this level materials begin to play a more im- 
portant part in the art program, but it should be emphasized that their 
main function is to provide for an increased knowledge, understanding, 
and expression in the arts and not to be an end in themselves. 

A Discussion of the Meaning of the 
Pseudo-NaturaUstic Stage 

We have seen that the child has gradually become more aware of his 
creative product. The young child creates in a straightforward fashion, 
projecting his personality into his work without inhibitions. The adult 
usually wants to conform to certain standards of beauty or perfection. 
These standards do not exist for the young child. The more this child 




■ *^ 


The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 247 

becomes aware of external standards, the less his work will directly reveal 
his personality. 

This stage of development is one of very rapid changes. Girls discover 
the feminine role, trying desperately hard to be pretty and alluring. Boys' 
voices begin to change and most of them try hard to become verv mascu- 
line. At the time that he is trying to make an impression upon his fellow 
students, the preadolescent not only wants to be liked by his peers, but 
also wants and needs the respect and attention of adults. 

The development of a critical attitude has made him aware of the world 
that surrounds him. This growing naturalism is reflected in the drawings 
of objects and figures by children of this age. Usually the schema that we 
have seen in earlier stages has now disappeared. The continued use of a 
schema at this age would tend to indicate that the child has not become 
intellectually aware of the variety of details and individual differences 
within his environment. If there is a discrepancy between what might be 
expected for this age level and what is actually produced, the teacher will 
have to take positive steps to find a more forceful means of motivation. 
This primarily means involving the child more directly in the activities 
that are part of the art program. Retarded children may need a great deal 
more stimulation than normal children. However, certain past experiences 
in the art area may even have a negative influence upon the child's atti- 
tude toward art, and this may be, in part, responsible for a lack of sensitive 

At this age children have not yet developed full control over their emo- 
tions, and often we find that a seemingly minor incident will be of ex- 
treme importance to a youngster. This intensity of emotion can often be 
utilized within the art program. The emotional relationships a child may 
develop with various segments of his environment can often be expressed 
either directly or symbolically. Topics centering around religious themes, 
individual justice, or the expression of love or hate can often involve a 
youngster quite completely. In such cases exaggeration or overemphasis 
of particular parts within a composition can be noted. Color in such cases 
can also be used symbolically, as in painting a face green. Such distortion 
should be looked upon as acceptable, and support should be given to the 
free use of exaggeration and distortion for emotional effect. 

As we have already emphasized, this stage is characterized by, among 
other things, a tendency toward two different types of creation. These 
tendencies show themselves best in the preference for certain perceptual 
experiences. The extreme visual and nonvisual are relatively rare and most 

Figure 73. These hand puppets are made from paper bags and scrap 
materials. Puppets may be used for acting out dramatic situations. 


often both tendencies are expressed. The observation of wrinkles and 
folds when clothes are in motion is usually an indication of visual aware- 
ness. The mere characterization of a figure by means of its clothing usually 
does not include wrinkles and folds. The representation of light and 
shadow is an advanced awareness of the visual environment. Differences 
in color value in light and shade also can be occasionally noted. When a 
child has become aware of his visual environment, it can usually be seen 
first in the indication that distant objects diminish in size. In younger 
children the representation of space goes through very definite stages. 
Here, when we consider only the visually minded child, the representa- 
tion of space begins to include not only an awareness of changes in size 
but also a feeling for the three-dimensional quality of objects. For some 
children who may have been taught the rules of mechanical perspective 
before they were psychologically ready for such teaching the drawing of 
space may be extremely rigid, and the expression of the child may be 
hampered because of the adherence to certain rules that are not thoroughly 
understood. We would find this to be especially true of the child who has 
nonvisual leanings. In any case painting is no longer looked upon as the 
reproduction of three-dimensional distance, and such instruction at this 
age should be limited to those students who voice a need for a further 
understanding of perspective. 

An awareness and expression of texture and tactile sensations can often 
be observed in drawings and paintings. The expression of textural differ- 
ences is often because of an increased awareness of such differences, de- 
veloped by a first-hand working with such materials in collages or by 
working with three-dimensional materials. Needless to say, such sensi- 
tivity to textures cannot be achieved through "correcting" the product 
itself, but only through meaningful experiences in which the tactile 
sensations are stressed. The student who is inclined toward visual ex- 
pression will be more concerned with form and color than with the ex- 
pression of tactile sensations. We find the nonvisually minded is more 
inclined to use color in a flat pattern than to be concerned with changes 
in value. In the painting "My Barber" in Plate 9 we can see color used 
in this way. 

It is usually during this stage of development that joints appear in the 
drawing of a human figure. We also find an increased awareness and 
exaggeration of sexual characteristics, especially in the drawings of the 
human figure by girls, for these sexual changes can no longer be experi- 
enced in a passive way. There is no reason to look upon these exaggera- 

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 249 

tions as anything but normal. In fact, the very opposite may be true; that 
is, a child who is beginning to develop sexually and who does not include 
these changes within drawings may be showing a fear of expressing these 
changes. Drawings should not be censored; throughout history, art has 
been one area where intense concern and feelings could be portrayed. In 
this connection we find that greater detail is attached to the representation 
of clothing for both sexes. 

The area of aesthetic growth has gradually become much more im- 
portant. In earlier stages of development the child was not aware of the 
beauty of his products; now children are developing a greater sensitivity 
toward the aesthetic qualities. Making a meaningful whole out of a chaos 
of parts is one of the most important criteria of a work of art. Both the 
design and the content play a part in the meaningful distribution of the 
single parts comprising the creative work. If we turn a picture 180° and 
forget its content by looking at it as if it were an abstraction, we receive 
an impression of the abstract design qualities within it. It should be 
emphasized that this is not the time to teach the formal elements of de- 
sign, but rather children can be made aware of the beauty in what they 
do. Obviously a drawing of loneliness will be quite different in design 
quality from a drawing portraying excitement. 

The quality of the material used for expression should be closely 
related to the subject matter. It would be difficult to express the feeling of a 
rainy day, or for that matter even joy or excitement, with clay. The 
subject matter expressed and the materials used to portray this expression 
should have unity. This becomes a great deal more apparent if we look 
at the function and design of an object as simple as a spoon. Such ques- 
tions as "Why isn't a spoon made out of cloth, or paper, or glass?" can 
begin to stimulate thinking about the relationship between material and 
expression. "Would the addition of holes in the handle of the spoon, or 
bumpy roses embossed upon the spoon bowl, help or hinder its function?" 
The development of aesthetic growth should not be minimized, and an 
increased awareness of tangible examples of both good and bad design 
should be explored. This is not the time for listing or memorizing rules 
to follow; rather it should be an opportunity for developing sensitivity to 
honesty and truth in art. 

We have constantly emphasized that creative growth is one of the vital 
components of any art program. This is especially true between the 
ages of eleven and thirteen. Here the child is becoming much more critical 
of his own work, and the pressure to conform to the adult standards of 


behavior or to the standards of the "crowd" work to stifle the creative 
urge. An emotionally free and flexible child should have an experimental 
attitude. His approach toward his own mode of expression should never 
become rigid. The teacher should be sure that individuality in expression, 
exploration in untried directions, and the opportunity to delve deeply into 
one area of interest are supported and actively encouraged. It is important 
to stress that every product in which a child becomes truly involved should 
be accepted without any outside evaluation. That is, the child who pro- 
duces pleasing looking products and the child who is not doing the type 
of work that suits the teacher's aesthetic taste should be treated with equal 
respect. However, in no way does this mean that a laissez-faire attitude 
should prevail. The very opposite is true! The halfhearted attempt, the 
stereotype, the presence of copying, should all be clear indications to the 
teacher that the program is not a meaningful one. To stimulate a child's 
thinking, to have him come to grips with a problem that is meaningful, 
to encourage a depth of expression, are all much more important than 
making "pretty" end products. We have discussed earlier the need for an 
environment that fosters divergent thinking. At this point the teacher 
should consider the development of creativity as one of the most vital 
areas of the art program. 

In summarizing this section on growth characteristics of preadolescents 
as seen in their art, we have discussed several aspects of growth that are 
exhibited in the art of these preadolescents, and also we have found that 
the art program has a very real part to play in the total developmental 
process. We can see quite clearly that art is not merely a subject matter 
area but is the expression of the total being. As children grow into adults, 
an art program should constantly change to meet their needs. 

This particular stage of development assumes greater importance when 
we realize that many youngsters have no further art experiences in the 
public schools after this time. It seems very strange indeed that at the 
onset of adolescence a program designed to provide an opportunity for 
the expression of feelings, emotions, and sensitivities should unfortunately 
be dropped for the majority of our secondary school population. To a 
great extent, then, the responsibility for a continued interest in the arts 
and the opportunity for active participation in art experiences rests with 
the attitude that children of this age develop from their art program in 
school. It is of vital importance that teachers of this age group show a 
high degree of involvement and enthusiasm in these art experiences 

The Pseudo-N aturalistic Stage: The Stage of Reasoning 251 

Related Activities 

1. Compare a twelve-year-old girl's representation of females over several 
months. Are there any changes in drawings, reflecting maturation? Com- 
pare these drawings with representations by girls a year younger. 

2. Collect the drawings of a sixth grade. What proportion of the class are 
observing visually by drawing distant objects smaller? What proportion 
apparently are showing a nonvisual type of space representation? 

3. Observe the working process while children are using clay. Which children 
give a subjective interpretation of the topic rather than a visual? Are these 
the same ones who model synthetically? 

4. Record examples of behavior that show the change from an unconscious 
approach to that of a critical awareness of the child's own actions. Are 
there any indications of the child's becoming critically aware of his own 

5. Have children of this age become aware of joints in the drawing of figures? 
Are differences in size and age characterized? Collect examples of such 
drawings. Are there differences in the ages when these changes occur? 

6. Observe a class for several sessions. Can you pick out some children who 
seem to be less involved in art activities? Does their work show this lack 
of involvement? How? Analyze some of the possible reasons for the hesi- 
tancy or fear of expression. Plan definite steps to take to improve the 
meaningfulness of the art experience. 


1. Ambrose Corcoran, "The Variability of Children's Responses to Color 

Stimuli" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Pennsylvania State Uni- 
versity, 1953). 

2. Alexander Zawacki, "An Experimental Study of Analytic Versus Synthetic 

Modelings and Drawings of Children" (Unpublished doctoral disserta- 
tion, The Pennsylvania State University, 1956). 

3. Viktor Lowenfeld, "Tests for Visual and Haptical Aptitude," American 

Journal of Psychology, LVIH, No. 1 (1945), pp. 100-111. 

4. Clarence Kincaid, "The Determination and Description of Various Crea- 

tive Attributes of Children," Studies in Art Education, 11, No. 2 (Spring 
1961), p. 52. 


The Period of Decision: 

The Crisis of Adolescence 
Seen m Creative Activity 

Crisis means passing from one stage to another under great difficulty. 
This is true physically, emotionally, or mentally. When undergoing an 
operation, the time the body needs to adapt itself to the new status created 
by the operation is a crisis. Since adolescence is considered a stage in the 
development of human beings, this crisis is connected with the difficulties 
of passing from one developmental stage to another, from the period of 
childhood to that of maturity.^ 

Because the crisis of adolescence is connected with bodily, as well as with 
emotional changes, we deal here with a complex crisis in which body, 
emotions, and mind have to adjust to a new situation. Indeed, we can say 
that this is an important period of decision in human development. That 
it is a period of decisive changes can be seen in the different behavior re- 
actions and attitudes of people before and after adolescence. How often we 


The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 253 

witness sudden changes from happy, open-minded children to shy and 
serious-looking youths. Much of this change is due to the degree of diffi- 
culty under which the individual has passed the crisis of adolescence. The 
less the child is affected by the changes of body and mind, the easier he 
can adjust to the new situation. The greater the difficulties were, the less 
the child was prepared to face the crisis properly. The question is: How 
can art education help to ease the crisis of adolescence? This can best be 
studied if we investigate the psychological changes that directly relate to 
the changes of the creative concept. 

The Psychological Change 
in the Imaginative Concept 

For the purpose of investigating this change in imaginative concepts in 
the preadolescent and adolescent, the topic "Playing Tag on the School 
Ground" was given to a number of (1) elementary school children of the 
first three grades, (2) boys and girls of the upper elementary school, and 
(3) secondary school students, with approximately three hundred in each 
group. Children and students were under no compulsion to draw the 
topic, but did so only if they wished. Individuals without prior special 
training in art were selected for this study. Of interest are the different 
ways of expressing the experience of catching and being caught, on the 
one hand, and the spatial representation of the school ground on the other. 
But it is also important to note that 95 per cent of the younger elementary 
school children made some attempt to represent this experience, whereas 
only 35 per cent of the secondary school students tried to depict this 
well-known game. Both facts — the different kinds of interpretation and 
the small percentage of the secondary school students who attempted to 
draw the given topic gives us insight into the nature of this part of the 
crisis of adolescence. 

In looking at the children's drawings, two striking features are ap- 
parent: (1) we see no attempt at naturalistic representations, either in the 
representations of the human figures or in the representations of the school 
ground; (2) the lower the age of the group, the less the attempt is made 
to indicate environment. 

Let us select one drawing from the children's group and describe it in 
greater detail, stressing some of the attributes more or less characteristic 
of all the representations of this age group. The child, a boy six years 
and six months of age, introduced a representative symbol for boy, an oval 

Figure 74. "Playing Tag on the School Ground," painted by a six- 
and-a-half-year-old boy. Notice the exaggeration of the arm that is 
doing the catching and the omitted arms of the captive. Environment 
is expressed only by a base line. 

for body, and a circle for head. Arms and legs are expressed differently 
in the representation of the catching boy and the captive. Whereas the 
arms of the captive are omitted entirely, those of the captor are very much 
overemphasized, indicating the importance of the subjective experience of 
reaching out to catch. This finds its strongest expression in the exaggerated 
symbol of the grasping hands (see Figure 74). We also see a difference in 
the length of the legs in both figures. Looking at the other drawings of 
this age group, we frequently see the same difference in the representa- 
tion of this part of the body— shorter legs for the captive and longer legs 
for the captor. We can conclude that shorter legs indicate slower run- 
ning, whereas longer legs mean faster running. This confirms what we 
have discussed in the chapter dealing with preschematic and schematic 
stages. The school ground is indicated by a base line only, which shows 
that the subjective feeling of being a part of environment is the only 
spatial experience the child has. 
The child's creative expression is mainly connected with such subjective 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 255 

experiences as bodily feelings, muscle sensations, and touch impressions. It 
is obvious that the child's way of perceiving space is determined by his 
subjective relationship to it, since the child's perception is derived from 
bodily, not from visual, experiences. The proportions in the child's 
representations are proportions of value, not the result of aesthetic evalua- 
tions. That is why it can be assumed that the child's world of imagination 
is mainly bound up with the self, with subjective feelings, and sub- 
jective relationships toward surroundings. 

Let us look at another drawing that will lead us a step farther toward 
the period of adolescence. It is the drawing by a nine-year-old girl and is 
another characteristic example chosen from the three hundred of its kind. 
This drawing (see Figure 75) compared with the other, most obviously 
shows a greater relationship to nature. The girls wear dresses. There 
even is an attempt to portray the flying hair of the running girls. Al- 
though unimportant details can be seen, there still is a clear overemphasis 

Figure 75. "Playing Tag on the School Ground," painted by a nine- 
year-old girl. Here we see slight exaggeration of important parts. 
Environment is expressed by two base lines on which the children and 
school are placed. 


of the arm of the catching girl, thereby expressing the importance of this 
part. There is distinctly a greater emphasis on environmental objects. The 
school ground is indicated by trees and by a fence which surrounds the 
field, placed on the base line of the upper section. The lower section with 
the girls, as the focus of the experience, is placed on a base line close to 
the bottom of the page. Considering the motion of the figures, we see a 
great stiffness, even a lack of correlation between them. This is typical 
for the representations of this age group (see Chapter 7, on the Gang 
Age). On the other hand, a greater emphasis on single details, such as the 
flying hair, shows the interest in things of importance. The nicely designed 
dresses of the girls are both in front view. If the somewhat exaggerated 
arm were not drawn, the topic would scarcely be recognizable. 

From this representation we can assume that a definite tendency exists 
to replace mere symbols (oval for body) by a representation that is more 
related to nature. But as we have seen in our general discussion of this 
stage, this approach toward a naturalistic representation is due to a greater 
consciousness of the self deriving from the thought "I am wearing a dress" 
and is not a result of a visual image. The proportion of value seen in 
the size of the girls who, compared with the trees, are drawn according 
to the degree of importance, still shows a strong subjective attitude toward 
the representation. Another fact seems important: the percentage of 
children who did not want to depict the topic has slightly increased, which 
shows decreasing confidence in self-expression. The lack of spatial correla- 
tion is a result of an egocentric attitude, which, as we have seen, is typical 
for this age level. 

When we turn our attention to the drawings of the secondary school 
students, we see first of all that only a very limited number of students 
voluntarily depicted this topic (35 per cent). Those who did, tried to 
represent it as naturalistically as possible: some by the real movement of 
running with "well-proportioned" figures, including a part of the campus; 
others with the emphasis on the figures only, stressing the muscles and 
the function of the body (see Figure 76). 

From this experiment it becomes clear that the closer the child ap- 
proaches adolescence, the more he loses the strong subjective relationship 
to the world of symbols. The growing consciousness of his own body 
introduces a more critical awareness of the self. In some cases the higher 
consciousness of the self leads to a more detailed and determined expres- 
sion of the body, whereas in other cases this growing critical attitude 
stimulates very strongly visual observation. A conscious critical awareness 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 257 

Figure 76. "Playing Tag on the School Ground," drawn by an adoles- 
cent. This picture is an attempt at naturalistic representation. Space 
is portrayed through the use of visual perspective. 

now dominates all the creative production of the adolescent individual. 

There is, however, an intermediate stage, in which the individual has 
already lost the connection with his childish way of symbolic representa- 
tion and has not yet found confidence in his own conscious approach. 
Through the strong desire of establishing a conscious approach, the child 
temporarily loses the subjective attitude toward his own creations. Con- 
sequently, the drawings show this feeling of insecurity. This period in 
which the youth has neither an unconscious childish nor a conscious ap- 
proach of self-expression is marked by a very profound crisis, which 
sometimes shakes the whole self-confidence. This is the reason why so 
many individuals stop their creative work at this period. In the study 
of adolescence this particular phase of the crisis hardly has been 

One of the most important tasks of art education during this vital period 
is to introduce means and methods of stimulations that will prevent 
the child from losing self-confidence. How this can be done is the main 
thesis of this chapter. 

The Development of Two Creative Types 

We can now clearly distinguish two types of art expression both by the 
end product and by the attitude toward experience. When we investigate 
the artistic products of these two types in their pure forms we find that 
the visual type starts from his environment, that he feels as spectator, and 
that his intermediaries for experience are mainly the eyes. The other, 
which we shall call the haptic type, is primarily concerned with his own 
body sensations and the subjective experiences in which he feels emotion- 
ally involved.^ The existence of these two distinct creative types, based 
upon two different reactions toward the world of experiences, is reported 
in The Nature of Creative Activity. In the course of this study it was 
found that imaginative activity, including the ability to give objective 
reference to creations of the imagination, by no means depends upon the 
capacity for perceptive observation. Furthermore, it was shown that the 
inability inspectively to notice visual objects is not always an inhibitory 
factor in creative activities. On the contrary, the very fact of not paying 
attention to visual impressions may become the basis of a specific creative- 
ness of the haptic type. This is of greatest importance for art educators, 
especially for those who still are concerned with visual stimulations only. 

A visually minded individual would be disturbed and inhibited if he 
were to be stimulated only by means of haptic impressions, that is, if 
he were asked not to use sight but to orient himself only by means of 
touch, bodily feelings, muscular sensations, and kinesthetic fusions. This 
much is clear, but what is not as obvious is that "seeing" may also become 
an inhibitory factor when forced upon an individual who does not use his 
visual experiences for creative work. Both facts are established by numer- 
ous experiments reported in the work referred to above. 

An extreme haptic type of individual is normal-sighted and uses his 
eyes only when compelled to do so; otherwise he reacts as would a blind 
person who is entirely dependent upon touch and kinesthesis. An extreme 
visually minded person, on the other hand, is entirely lost in the dark and 
depends completely on his visual experiences of the outside world. This 
distinction is true for creative types as well as for individuals in general, 
as has been reported elsewhere.^ W. Grey Walter in an encephalographical 
study (dealing with alpha rhythms, or recorded electrical waves from the 
brain) reveals that "individuals with persistent alpha rhythms which are 
hard to block with mental effort, tend to auditory, kinesthetic or tactile 
perceptions rather than visual imagery. In this group of persons the alpha 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 259 

rhythms continue even when the eyes are open and the mind is active 
and alert." He administered a test to 600 individuals, which enabled him 
to distinguish between a visualizer (the M type) with few if any alpha 
rhythms, a non-visualist (the P type) with persistent alpha activity, and 
a mixed type (the R type) with a responsive alpha rhythm. He raises the 
question "Why are the alpha rhythms so persistent when they appear in 
childhood?" He warns, however, that "we must be cautious about jumping 
to any such conclusion as that children only learn later to think in visual 
terms, although this is suggested by the extreme rarity of M type 
children." He continues, ". . . evidence already available, both statistical 
and experimental, strongly suggests that the alpha rhythm characters 
are inborn and probably hereditary."^ 

The result of another investigation in which 1,128 subjects were tested 
by means of specifically designed tests for visual or haptic aptitude was as 
follows: 47 per cent were clearly visual, 23 per cent were haptic, and 30 
per cent either received a score below the line where a clear identification 
was possible or were otherwise not identifiable.^ In other words, approxi- 
mately half of the individuals tested reacted visually, whereas not quite a 
fourth reacted haptically. These figures are in close agreement with those 
in the study by W. Grey Walter. 

Most people tend to fall between these two extreme types. Investigations 
have shown, however, that only a few individuals have equal amounts of 
visual and haptic predisposition. Seventy-five per cent have an appreciable 
tendency toward one or the other. Since the tendency toward these two 
antipodes of experience is important not only for the proper stimulation 
in creative activity but also to life in general (especially in the proper 
choice of occupation), we shall discuss this aspect of the problem in a 
separate section. 

Thus, apparently one among four individuals depends more upon his 
subjective reactions, such as touch and kjnesthesis, than upon vision. In a 
study by Drewes, using a variety of testing devices, Rorschach responses 
for what he called visualizers tended to be whole and three-dimensional 
forms, while the nonvisualizers in his population reproduced more 
kinesthetic movements and shading responses. Although these two extreme 
groups responded in significantly different ways on parts of an intelligence 
test, no diflferences were found in total intelligence scores." Aside from its 
far-reaching significance in other fields, for art teaching this fact means 
that one fourth of the population cannot benefit from visual stimuli. They 
either are not reached or may become frustrated by this type of stimulation. 


Each type should therefore be stimulated in the direction of his experi- 
ences and thinking. To do this, we should become acquainted with the 
nature of these two creative types, particularly because during the crisis of 
adolescence the individual is most unsure of himself. The kind of 
stimulation that is able to inspire him will not only contribute to his 
creative development but mav also contribute to his self -confidence. In 
spite of the fact that most people fall between the two extremes, with 
merely a preference for the one or the other, an analysis of each type in its 
pure form seems imperative for the proper understanding of their 
"mixed" forms. 


The main intermediaries for visual impressions are the eyes. The 
ability to observe visually does not depend entirely upon the physical 
condition of the eyes. Inferior visual awareness is not necessarily deter- 
mined by a physical defect of the eyes. On the contrary, as experiments 
have proved, the psychological factor of having the aptitude to observe is 
of deciding significance. This is of special importance because it implies 
that being forced to observe might possibly create inhibitions. Before one 
can remove inhibitions, it is necessary to recognize them as such. For 
example, it would be completely wrong to attempt to set free the creative 
powers of a nonvisual type of individual by trying to remove his "visual 
inhibition" and anxiously attempting to familiarize him with visual 
impressions. One would, in fact, achieve the exact opposite, just as one 
would inhibit creative ability by forcing a visualizer to pay special at- 
tention to tactile impressions. Not being able to see, or rather not noticing 
visual impressions, is not always an inhibitory j actor. This haptic ex- 
pression can be readily found not only in the field of art but also in 
literature and other areas." Before the way is cleared for the development 
of artistic ability, it is essential to ascertain which creative type is involved. 
From this it follows that naturalistic modes of expression should not be 
used as the only criterion, for this may actually inhibit free creative expres- 
sion. To ascertain the type being dealt with, the specific attributes of each 
have to be determined. 

The visual type, the observer, usually approaches things from their 
appearance. He feels as a spectator. One important factor in visual observa- 
tion is the ability to see first the whole without an awareness of details, 
then to analyze this total impression into detailed or partial impressions, 
and finally to synthesize these parts into a new whole. Apparendy, the 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 261 

visual type first sees the general shape of a tree, then the single leaves, 
the twigs, the branches, the trunk, and finally everything incorporated 
in the synthesis of the whole tree. Starting with the general outline, 
partial impressions thus are integrated into a whole, simultaneous image. 
This is true not only psychologically but also for the act of creating. Thus, 
we will notice that visual types usually begin with the outlines of objects 
and enrich the form with details as the visual analysis is able to penetrate 
deeper into the nature of the object. 

This visual penetration deals mainly with two factors: first, with the 
analysis of the characteristics of shape and structure of the object itself; 
and second, with the changing effects of these shapes and structures deter- 
mined by light, shadow, color, atmosphere, and distance. Observing details 
is not always a sign of visual-mindedness; it can be an indication of good 
memory as well as of subjective- interest in these details. For visual- 
mindedness it is necessary to see the changes these details undergo under 
the various external conditions mentioned above. 

Visually minded persons have a tendency to transform kinesthetic and 
tactile experiences into visual experiences. If, for instance, a visual-minded 
person acquaints himself with an object in complete darkness, he tries to 
visualize all tactile or kinesthetic experiences. "How it looks" is the first 
reaction to any object met in darkness. In other words, he tries to imagine 
in visual terms what he has perceived through other senses. A visually 
minded person who encounters an object in darkness thus tries im- 
mediately to visualize the object he has met. The visual approach toward 
the outside world is an analytic approach of a spectator who observes the 
complex and ever changing appearances of shapes and forms. 


The main intermediary for the haptic type of individual is the body 
self — muscular sensations, kinesthetic experiences, touch impressions, and 
all experiences that place the self in value relationship to the outside world. 
In haptic art the self is projected as the true actor of the picture whose 
formal characteristics are the result of a synthesis of bodily, emotional, and 
intellectual comprehension of shape and form. Sizes and spaces are 
determined by their emotional value in size and importance. The haptic 
type is primarily a subjective type. Haptically minded persons do not 
transform kinesthetic and tactile experiences into visual ones but are 
completely content with the tactile or kinesthetic modality itself. If a 
haptically minded person acquaints himself with an object in complete 


darkness, he remains satisfied with his tactile or kinesthetic experiences 
of the surface structure of the obstacle or with partial impressions of those 
parts that he has touched. Since tactile impressions are, to a great extent, 
partial (this is true for all impressions of objects that cannot be embraced 
with the hands, where the hands have to move), the haptic individual 
will arrive at a synthesis of these partial impressions only when he be- 
comes emotionally interested in the object itself. Normally, he will not 
build up such a synthesis and will remain satisfied with his haptic experi- 
ence. Since the haptic type uses the self as the true projector of his experi- 
ences, his pictorial representations are highly subjective; his proportions 
are proportions of value. 

In art education it is necessary to consider these attitudes toward the 
world of experiences as important as the visual approaches toward art. 
Thus, a motivation will be effective only if it includes haptic sensations as 
well as visual experiences. 

The Different Creative Concepts 
of the Two Types 

To be able to separate pure optical perception from other sense im- 
pressions, we need an object of contemplation that cannot be influenced 
or disturbed by other senses. But associatively almost everything in our 
surroundings somehow influences all our sensations and experiences. We 
can therefore hardly ever speak of pure optical perception of things. 
Even color, considered in isolation from any object, awakes in us dark, 
bright, cheerful, or warm feelings, and a tree waving in the wind awakes 
in us some knowledge of the elasticity of the w^ood, the nature of the 
leaves, and so forth. Thus Van Gogh writes in a letter to his brother, 
"Yesterday evening 1 concerned myself with the gently rising terrain of 
the wood, which is completely covered with dry, dead beech leaves. . . . 
The problem is — and I find this extremely difficult — to bring out the depth 
of the color and the enormous strength and firmness of the soil. . . . Out 
of this soil grow the trunks of the beeches, which are a shining green on 
the side on which they are brightly illuminated, while on the shadow 
side the trunks show a warm, strong black-green. ... 1 am affected 
and intrigued to see how strongly the trunks are rooted in the ground. I 
began to paint them with the brush, and was unable to bring out the 
characteristics of the soil, which had already been painted in thick colors. 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 263 

The new brush strokes simply disappeared. Therefore I pressed roots and 
trunks out of the tube and modelled them a little with my brush. There, 
now they stand in it, grow out of it, and have firmly taken root."^ 

We see here how the optical impression has been influenced and 
formed by other sense impressions, how intellectual apprehension of shape 
and form fused with optical and emotional experiences. Can optical 
perception, therefore, be adequately perceived by means of seeing with 
the eye alone? We shall have to conclude that optical perception in its 
purest form is only an extreme case of visual perception in general. We 
must therefore use the term visual perception, when impressions coming 
from other senses are subordinate to those coming from the eye, when 
visual impressions are the dominant feature in a percept. 

The artistic representation of visual impressions always starts from 
optical perception. It is concerned with the subjective experience of the 
self only as far as anv creative activity is an individual mental act. Being 
bound to the self in this sense is not what we shall understand by the 
term later, because it does not seek its experience in bodily sensations, but 
outside the body. The self merely evaluates the experience. 

"The further optical experience recedes into the background, the less 
important does the eye become as the intermediary of the concept."^ 
Visual and haptic concepts are fundamentally different in their basic 
experiential content. As we are able to recognize them, we will be able 
to encourage the individual in the direction of his thinking and thereby 
provide the guidance he sorely needs. 


For the visual type the human figure is a part of the environment. 
As such, the human figure is exposed to the same phenomena as environ- 
ment. The main experiences related to the representation of the human 
figure are the qualities that can be discovered with our eyes. Correct 
proportions and measurements are, therefore, of prime significance for the 
visual type (see Figure 77). The changing effects of light and shadows in 
the different motions are necessarily a part of the visual image. In art 
stiumulation, therefore, the posing model is of different significance for 
the two creative types because the visually minded individual is mainly 
concerned with the visual analysis of his optical impressions. 

The haptic type, however, uses the human figure as the interpreter of 
his emotions and feelings (see Figure 78). Since different parts of our 
body have various functions and importance, the proportions given these 


Figure 77. "A Scene at the Police Station," drawn by a visually minded 
adolescent. Correct proportions, lights and shadows, and three-dimen- 
sional quality are important to the artist. 

parts will assume the emotional significance assigned to them. The 
wounds on the hands of Christ are of such significance in a Byzantine 
mural that the hands dominate in size and in importance. Another ex- 
perience related especially to haptic types is the intense body feeling ex- 
pressed in the desire to get one's body transferred to another place (that 
is, when late; related to the wish of catching up with time and space) 
or the desire to catch something that is already out of reach by throwing 
one's arm after it. These typically haptic experiences are in strong con- 
tradiction to visual observations. They spring from body experiences and 
kinesthetic sensations. Since these experiences are highly subjective in 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 265 

their interpretations, the haptic representation of the human figure and its 
meaning is a highly subjective one. 

In 77?^ Nature of Creative Activity are numerous examples of the 
works of the blind, among whom haptic expression is much more com- 
mon. Here is discussed the meaning of autoplastic sensations, the sensa- 
tions of drawing all experiences from the body, and the significance they 
assume. The figure "Youth Imploring" modeled by a girl who has been 
blind since birth will illustrate these viewpoints. Its most striking char- 
acteristic is overemphasis on the imploring hands. We feel the strength 
of the elemental forces embodied in this figure when we observe the 
gradual increase in its proportions. It starts from the slender basis of 
the delicate legs and rising like a hymn to heaven finds in the great 
hands its mighty closing chord. The base has, as it were, been dematerial- 
ized: it is no longer earth-bound, and we have before us only the feeling 
"I implore!" (see Figure 79). In almost all sculptures by the blind, 
those parts of the body that have emotional significance are greatly 
exaggerated. We find, however, the same principles of representation in all 
epochs and cultures in which expressive qualities are of greater importance 
than visual ones. 

Figure 78. "A Scene at the Police Station," drawn by a haptically minded adoles- 
cent. The elements of this composition are determined subjectively; proportions, 
lights and darks, and space are of emotional importance. 

Figure 79. "Youth Imploring," sculpture by a 
seventeen-year-old girl who has been blind since 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 267 

In Egyptian murals the kings and other prominent persons are made 
larger in exactly the same way as in Byzantine paintings. In these 
cases large and small cannot be considered visual qualities: they are ex- 
pressive evaluations; visual experiences have to make way for impulses 
lying outside the visual sphere. This is especially true for modern art in 
which the emphasis again is on the side of expressive qualities. This may 
help us in understanding some of the complex creations of Picasso in 
which space and time fuse, in which profile and front views are expressed 
simultaneously, in which the arm of a horrified mother becomes separated 
from the body as an expression of the intense feeling of reaching for her 
bombed child. ^*^ The nature of this art expression is at least as deeply 
rooted, historically and psychologically, as the visual interpretation of the 
world that surrounds us. 


Space cannot be conceived in its totality. Its infinity is irrational, and it 
becomes accessible to our senses only when we circumscribe it. At the 
center of space, with nothing whatever to surround us, space itself would 
be infinite and therefore nonexistent. The self would cease to be a measure 
of value in space. It would vanish to nothing in infinity. Our senses and 
our psychological attitudes set limits to space, and each in its own way 
enables us to grasp space. Visual space, for which the eyes are the 
intermediaries, we perceive as the widest space. Haptic space, for which 
our organs of touch and our bodily sensations are the intermediaries, is 
the most restricted. Both spaces achieve a magical significance whenever 
the self is included in them through value judgments. We shall discuss 
the difference in the ways in which these two sensory spaces are pictorially 
represented. Both points of view are necessary for understanding the kind 
of stimulation the art educator has to use during this deciding stage so 
that he will neither neglect nor frustrate either of these types. 

In relation to its environment the self grows or diminishes in size and 
in importance. Next to children we seem large, next to a skycraper, small; 
unimportant in the world at large, important in our own circle; most 
important, perhaps, when we are quite alone. These attitudes vary accord- 
ing to our psychological state. The narrower, the more restricted, three- 
dimensional space or the space of our psychological experiences is, the 
more importance is assigned to the self. Haptic space is of necessity 
restricted. In it, therefore, the significance and the importance of the self 
are very much emphasized. 


The eye produces as a visual image an apparent diminution of distant 
objects. In drawing, this apparent diminution of distant objects is 
achieved by using laws of perspective. The outer limits of visual space are 
represented by the boundary of the horizon line. Distant objects in haptic 
space do not produce differences in size to the sense of touch or to emo- 
tional reactions. Thus, the visual image receives a decisive correction. 
When space is being explored tactually, distances can only have different 
values attached to them or seem of greater or less emotional significance. 
In haptic space, therefore, we find a predominance of subjective value 
judgments. The longing for freedom, however, grows with its remoteness. 
An individual without restrictions is unaware of boundaries. His eyes can 
easily rest on the horizon. The horizon of the sharecropper is his cotton 
field, the horizon of a laundry woman her tub. The perspective of haptic 
space is a perspective of values. 

None of the creative interpretations of these spaces is true in a 
naturalistic sense. Both spaces are "distorted" by individual interpretations. 
Although philosophy has generally considered visual space as the more 
realistic, nevertheless it has less validity than the space of touch. Distant 
objects do not actually change in size, and the sense of touch records this 
truth. Bushmen who were shown photographs or reproductions of paint- 
ings of three-dimensional qualities were unable to orient themselves in the 
jungle of visual foreshortenings.^^ For them sizes do not differ with 
distances. Their spatial interpretations, however, are not "true inter- 
pretations" either, since they evaluate objects in space according to signifi- 
cance. We are completely one-sided in our judgments relating to the 
validity of our own visual space interpretations. Our civilization has 
become so accustomed to the photographic interpretation of space that we 
have to change our concept completely if we shift to the "unconventional" 
interpretations of haptic space, although these have been the conventional 
interpretations among historical cultures in which expression dominated 
the realm of art. 

The Two Creative Types Are Psychological — 
Their Significance for Personality Development 

When we sit in a train, watching the swiftly passing landscape, we may 
or may not realize that the impression of the landscape as a whole exists 
only in our minds. Actually we do not see the whole thing, but only many 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 269 

little strips of landscape about the size of the window, each one quickly 
replaced by another. Some of us are quite satisfied with these many partial 
impressions and would even feel dizzy if compelled to integrate the 
fleeting glimpses into a whole. Others, however, do not need to be 
stimulated to put this picture puzzle together. While moving, they fuse all 
these strips together and see in their minds a whole landscape; more than 
that, they orient themselves quite well in it. 

Members of the first group not only lose contact with the parts of the 
landscape that are left behind but often become irritated by the ever 
changing picture. Many of us have experienced how this irritation con- 
tributes to the discomfort of train travel. It is not only the fresh air that 
makes riding in an open car a pleasure, the smoothness of high-altitude 
flying that makes it more pleasant than the take-ofT; it is also the enlarged 
visual circle, which permits better orientation and a fuller sense of physical 
security. The body likes to know what is being done to it. The driver of a 
car does not feel the sudden stop as much as the passengers do. 

The traveler who sits either comfortably or painfully in his compartment 
seldom realizes that this ability or failure to produce a single, unified 
picture out of the many successive impressions of the landscape may 
classify him according to a definite psychological type, which differs from 
other types on this and many other points, as we shall see. 

An air-pilot training candidate who failed in his examinations explained 
his failure as follows: "In high altitudes I feel secure. However, the 
closer I come to the ground, especially in landing maneuvers, the more I 
become confused. Since I cannot take in the whole airtield, I lose orienta- 
tion." This is exactly the problem of a blind sculptor, who, moving his 
hands over a face, receives only partial impressions. The inability of the 
pilot to integrate his partial impressions of the landing field into a whole, 
confused his sense of orientation. Having lost contact with the part of the 
airfield left behind, the pilot could no longer orient himself. 

In primitive, haptic, and expressive art the same attitude toward the 
experience of senses can be observed with one striking additional factor. 
As a man sitting in a train loses contact with the area he leaves behind 
him, so does the haptic artist. But the train passenger, like the artist, may 
suddenly become bound up with something that quickly passes his eyes 
and strikes his personality, such as an old shack or a hawk circling in the 
air. From this time on the hawk will circle with him and grow in his 
mind as one outstanding, isolated impression of the many he has perceived 
in succession. 


A blind person who made himself acquainted with a room became 
very much interested in a desk lamp. He could feel the bulb growing 
warmer when he turned on the light, and when he was asked afterward 
to model the room in clay, the lamp was the most conspicuous part, even 
overshadowing the desk. This impression became outstanding and most 
of the other parts disappeared. The lamp may have been for him a symbol 
of the unattainable or, perhaps, the unperceivable, which can easily change 
for the primitive man into any magic symbol. The creative result, however, 
shows the same expression for it — proportion of value. 

The world of expressionist art is one of expression, feelings, subjective 
processes— o/ haptic experiences. Bodily feelings, kinesthetic experiences, 
muscular sensations are clearest examples of subjective processes. The 
bodily feelings of these uplifted hands in Figure 79 have become incorpo- 
rated into the magic content of the expression of the whole sculpture. The 
same kind of expression can be seen in the works of some modern 
masters, as well as in the exaggerated hands of primitive African sculp- 
tures. It can be seen in every art that originates in haptic rather than in 
visual experiences. 

Thus, the two creative types are psychologically independent of 
physiological factors. It has been demonstrated that there are completely 
and congenitally blind individuals who react visually or haptically in the 
same ways as normal-sighted people react both ways. A blind person 
reacts visually if he is able to receive from his touch impressions (which 
are partial impressions) a simultaneous image of the whole, like the 
visually minded, normal-sighted person who sits in the train and fuses all 
partial impressions into a simultaneous image. Both final products are 
distinguished by the same visual attributes of emphasizing the external 
appearance. Blind and normal-sighted haptic types, however, create en- 
tirely from within. Their inward feelings are expressed rather than any 
realistic external qualities. Actual differences in method of working with 
clay can be seen in the products of two sixteen-year-old youths (see Figures 
80 and 81). 

The ability to give objective form to the creations of the imagination 
does not depend on the capacity to see and observe things. This is of vital 
importance for art educators because it will afifect the methods of motiva- 


Proper art motivation is always determined by the factors that influence 
the growth and development of the individual during a particular age 

Plate 9. "My Barber," painted by a fourteen-year- 
old boy. The liaptically minded child frequently 
uses flat areas of color. He does not feel as a spec- 
tator but is bound up with his subject. 

Plate 10. An interest in texture and an organization of 
spaces and colors demonstrates a growing aesthetic a\\are- 
ness. Nonobjective painting may be visually inspired or 
it may represent a nonvisual experience. 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 271 

period. During the crisis of adolescence the individual has to battle for 
many far-reaching decisions. He stands on the threshold of adulthood, 
reached under circumstances that often affect his life very definitely. Ad- 
justment from childhood to adulthood usually occurs under difficulties, 
physiologically and psychologically. Neither one can be separated from the 
other because the body is closely related to the mind and affects it greatly. 
We shall be concerned only with creative activity as a natural outlet and 
means of expression for the individual. Art education during this im- 
portant period should by no means be offered to only a selected group but 
should be a natural means of expression for everyone. This conclusion is 
not in accord with common practice in the American high school, where 
art is taught to a small group of artistically "gifted" students. Gifted 
usually refers to skill in conventional interpretations of objects of nature. 
If we can eliminate this attitude toward "art expression" and at the same 
time develop self-confidence in the individual to accept art as self-expres- 
sion according to individual needs, we have succeeded in our chief aim of 
making art a common expression of mankind. 

Much of the confusion of adolescent critical awareness in our society 
is due to traditional concepts that establish a "naturalistic" relationship to 
environment, a relationship which develops a "true" (photographic) 
picture of the external world. The concept of truth should be established 
from as many angles as possible, especially with the help of works of art 
of different epochs and cultures. Truth is relative and the word should be 
replaced by sincerity. An African sculpture is as "true" to its creator as 
was the "David" to Michelangelo. The experience, however, that the 
African sculptor had with his work is vitally different from the experience 
Michelangelo had when he created the "David." Thus it is the difference 
in the experience that determines art expression, whether it be painting, 
music, architecture, or any other art form. Demonstrating this relationship 
between experience and art work in great variety will aid students in an 
unhampered interpretation of their own experiences.^" 

A work of art is not a product of nature; it is a product of human spirit, 
thinking, and emotions and can only be understood when the driving 
forces are of essential significance and everything else is only a by-product. 
If these driving forces are lacking, not even the most developed skills can 
ever replace them. That is why the works of the primitives can be great 
works of art while most skillfully executed works are not necessarily 
works of art if they lack the driving forces, the inner spirit that determines 
the greatness of an art work. They are like beautiful wrappers around 
nothing. The most diverse works of art of different epochs and cultures 

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,' 1 





Figure 80. "Pain," sculpture by a sixteen-year-old blind girl who is visually minded. 
a. The general outline is made. b. The cavity of the mouth is formed, c. The nose 
is added, d. Eye sockets are hollowed out. e. Eyeballs are put in. f. Lids are pulled 
over. g. Wrinkles are formed, h. Ears are added, i. Hair is added. Right (j): In the 
finished product, all features are incorporated into a unified surface. 


Figure 81. "Pain," sculpture by a sixteen-year-old blind 
boy who is haptically minded, a. The chin is constructed. 
b. The teeth and tongue are put in. c. The mouth is 
closed, hiding inside features, d. The nose is added, eye 
sockets made. e. Eye sockets are put in from inside, head 
is closed, f. Ears, muscles, and hair are added, g. The head 
is finished. Right (h): All features remain isolated as 
partial impressions on final product. 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 275 


show the difTperent quaHties of these driving forces. It is important to 
demonstrate how in Greek sculpture the highest admiration of the beauty 
of the body has been expressed. This can be understood only if we realize 
that even a mother subordinated her feelings to the concept of beauty by 
disposing of a baby for the mere reason that its body was not perfect, as 
was the custom among the Spartans. 

The driving forces that determined the expression of the "ideal" form 
and shape must be different from those that determined religious ex- 
pression (as during the medieval periods). Ideal forms disappear when 
expression dominates. When we cry, we do not care whether we cry 
beautifully. The driving force represents the need to incorporate all 
expressive experiences into the single work of art making it a symbol of 
that expression. That is why in times when a general idea of expression 
was universal, like the general idea of religious expression during medieval 
times, the tendency toward symbolism or the general validity of expression 
is great. If the driving force, however, is individualistic — if expression 
derives from personal experiences — art expression will be highly in- 

To illustrate, we have only to compare Picasso with Rouault to see the 
strong differences in their individual expression based on the difference in 
kind of experience (see Chapter 11). Whereas many of the experiences of 
Picasso can easily be traced to body sensations and kinetic experiences (as 
the desire to paint dynamically, front view and profile in one interpreta- 
tion of a head), Rouault concerns himself greatly with associations of past 
experiences in which medieval art is often brought into a new light. Its 
greatest and most powerful expression is found in the dark outlines as 
seen in the medieval stained windows. How different is the orisjin of the 
driving forces in an impressionistic picture in which the external ap- 
pearance — the changes of light and shadows, the illuminating qualities of 
surfaces, the complex idea of the breaking of colors — reaches its climax. 
How much in contrast to such external structures and appearances are 
the driving forces that make an African sculptor carve his idols or an 
Indian his totems. An analysis of these forces leads the student directly 
away from the mere imitative urge of reproducing nature. 

Youths during the period of adolescence are eager to give their thinking 
an intellectual backing. They will readily absorb those differences in the 
nature of the driving forces that determine the art experience. The per- 
sonal experience in our everyday life must be included in the discussion. 
When we see a burning house, the driving forces that determine our 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 277 

experiences related to it will be quite different for different individuals. 
The one might be affected by the beauty of the blazing flames flaring sky- 
ward, their reflections, and the dancing shadows cast by them. The 
other individual is deeply touched by the fate of the people who are now 
without a roof over their heads, suddenly deprived of everything they 
could enjoy a few moments before. This individual sees the weeping 
mother holding the only thing she had been able to save, the baby in 
her arms. Still a third individual might leave the scene thinking only of 
what he would have done in the same circumstances. Whereas the one 
would merely approach the accident as a spectator (emphasizing visual 
experiences), the other might become involved in the struggle for 
existence, setting the ego in a value relationship to the experience 
(emphasizing haptic experiences). The third might be affected by both 

For the proper approach toward art experiences it is of vital importance 
to distinguish between what is essential and what is unessential. Everything 
is essential that directly relates to the expression of the experience. Un- 
essential are those factors that have no direct relationship to the creation 
of the work. The essentials are the basis for a proper art motivation. 

For example, our experience may be derived from a body motion: we 
were intrigued by a worker who carried a heavy load on his shoulder. 
Carrying a heavy load is now the most essential experience that we would 
like to express. Everything else becomes unessential. Thus, we do not care 
whether Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones carries the heavy load. Their faces might 
only detract from the essential expression in the same way as the face of 
the "Man with the Helmet" by Rembrandt would have contradicted his 
experience if it had overpowered the helmet. Rembrandt illuminated the 
helmet as the essential part, and put the face in deep shadows as if he 
wanted to say, "Under the helmet all faces look alike." It is not the 
portrait of Mr. Jones, it is the "Man with the Helmet." If we compare 
this great painting with one of Rembrandt's portraits in which the face 
has to stand out and the headdress is almost a silhouette, we will more 
definitely experience the meaning of these essentials. 

Thus, while concentrating on the act of carrying a heavy load, we shall 
omit everything that does not contribute to carrying a heavy load, and 
concentrate more and more on the experience itself. Although we are 
quite aware of the meaning of carrying, especially when going through 
the experience ourselves, we will soon discover that it is the lack of active 
knowledge that prevents the student from portraying his experience. 



"What are we doing when we are carrying? Are we bent or upright? 
Do we have our legs together, or apart from each other, to gain better 
support? How do we hold our load? Do we need to bend our arms or 
do we have them straight? Do we look at the ground or forward?" Such 
questions will activate the passive knowledge of the individual and at the 
same time stress the essentials necessary for the expression of carrying 
a heavy load (see Figure 82). It will help those who have no definite 
concept and will not disturb or restrict those who find it easy to express 
themselves. It is much more stimulating and easier not to start to draw 
from nature but to use the experiences derived from the self. 

The complexity of nature, its details and lights and shadows, deflect 
the attention from the essentials and may in the beginning be too complex 

Figure 82. This sketch from a pos- 
ing figure interprets the topic 
"Carrying a Heavy Load." 

and confusing. This way, we also will avoid imposing visual stimulations 
upon the whole group. Visual and haptic types will apply their individual 
application to this stimulation, which starts from the self. The visually 
minded individual will include environment in his visual concept and 
will project the experience of the self into his environment, whereas the 
haptically minded student will become absorbed solely in the qualities 
deriving from his own subjective experiences. 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 279 

At some point, however, it might become essential to include more than 
one motion in a representation — for instance, if the repetition of a 
motion is essential for the atmosphere of the working situation. Digging 
potatoes and putting them into bags is a continuous activity requiring 
repetition. We would not do justice to the essentials to exclude this act 
of repetition. Sometimes monotony is one of the essentials; then we would 
not vary the motions but would place them parallel. Another time it is 
essential to show the type of motions workers go through while performing 
a job. Then it would be necessary to show the characteristic rhythm of the 
various phases of the working process, in one representation, "The Rhythm 
of Workers on a Construction Project." 

The essentials might even become more complex if we include social 
atmospheres or emotional reactions. With gaining confidence the urge for 
expression grows, and the guidance of the teacher may diminish. The 
quality and sincerity of art expression are in close relationship to the urge 
for expression. Attention to details must grow out of the desire for expres- 
sion, otherwise we are not dealing with creative activity. The study of a 
detail must never he an aim in itself, and in this respect art education often 
fails. The academic method, which uses rules for creative production, starts 
with details. A mouth separated from its environment loses its meaning 
and becomes an anatomical part unrelated to art. A mouth is a dynamic 
part of the face and ceases to exist as such when separated from the whole. 

Form and expression are a unit and can never be separated from each 
other without doing harm to either part. If a student who paints a picture 
of a man pulling a boat gets "stuck" because he cannot express the es- 
sential quality of a pulling hand, the study of a pulling hand grows out 
of the desire to incorporate this hand into the whole experience of a pulling 
man. He will then proceed with his study, not as a separated, isolated 
detail but as a part of the whole, which becomes fulfillment only when it 
unites with the rest. Studying details in the academic meaning becomes 
quite superfluous within a curriculum of modern art education. The urge 
for studying details develops from the individual need for expression. This 
need, however, is very diverse, individual, and highly subjective. 

From the foregoing discussion it becomes apparent that proper art 
motivation relates as much to personality development as to creative ex- 
pression itself. This double function of art teaching signifies the importance 
of aesthetic experiences within this decisive period of development, and 
shows clearly why art should not be confined to a selected group but 
should become a means of expression for everyone. 

280 creative and mental growth 

Related Activities 

1. Compare the drawings of an eighth grade with those done by a fifth grade 
class. Point out the changes that show the development of a critical aware- 
ness toward creative expression. 

2. Make a list of the characteristics of the child who tends to be haptic. What 
would be his preference for subject matter, his manner of representation, 
his use of color, his use of proportion? Plan a lesson that would emphasize 
nonvisual responses. 

3. Make a list of the characteristics of a child who has a preference for visual 
stimuli and plan a lesson, as above, emphasizing the visual elements. 

4. Discuss the changing relationship between the child and his environment 
as seen in the representations of space. Point out how the use of space 
changes and how these changes reflect changes in development as the child 

5. Make a collection of reproductions of recognized artists' work that show 
the differences between haptic and visual approaches to painting on the 
adult level. Collect some reproductions that show both influences. 

6. Realizing that differences in training, education, and interests affect voca- 
tional choice, list some occupations that emphasize visual characteristics. 
List those that emphasize haptic characteristics. Defend your choices. 


1. Thomas Munro, "Adolescence and Art Education," Methods of Teaching 

the Fine Arts, ed. William Rusk (Chapel Hill: University of North 
Carolina Press, 1935), pp. 25-58. 

2. Haptic derives from the Greek word haptil{os and means "able to lay hold 


3. Viktor Lowenfeld, "Tests for Visual and Haptical Aptitude," American 

Journal of Psychology, LVIH, No. 1, (1945), pp. 100-111. 

4. W. Grey Walter, The Living Brain (New York: W. W. Norton & Com- 

pany, Inc., 1953), pp. 214-218. 

5. Viktor Lowenfeld, The Nature of Creative Activity, rev. ed. (New York: 

Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952). 

6. Henry W. Drewes, "An Experimental Study of the Relationship Between 

Electroencephalographic Imagery Variables and Perceptual-Cognitive 
Processes" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1958). 

7. Paul B. Flick, "An Intercorrelative Study of Two Creative Types: The 

Visual Type and the Haptic Type" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation. 
The Pennsylvania State University, 1960). 

The Period of Decision: The Crisis of Adolescence 281 

8. Vincent Van Gogh, Letters (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1928), pp. 14, 16, and 


9. The Nature of Creative Activity, p. 82. 

10. Mural "Guernica," by Pablo Picasso. 

11. Leo Frobenius, Kulturgeschichte Ajril^as (Ziirich: Phaidon-Verlag, 1933). 

12. Thomas Munro, "Creative Ability in Art and Its Educational Fostering," 

The Fortieth Yearbook^ of the National Society for the Study of Educa- 
tion (Bloomington, 111.: Public School Publishing Co., 1941), pp. 289- 


Adolescent Art 

Although this chapter is primarily concerned with the art of the adoles- 
cent, it would be difficult to define this stage in artistic development. 
While our knowledge and understanding of child art have greatly ex- 
panded, the understanding of the art of the adolescent has been generally 

Child art is a term that is meaningful to every teacher, parent, and 
psychologist. We know the attributes of child art, the forces that underlie 
it, its developmental stages, and its meaning for growth. It has been 
demonstrated that child art has its distinct attributes and, like childhood, 
represents a very important phase in our development. When we consider 
art of the adolescent, however, we find confusion. We are far from having 
arrived at a definite concept of adolescent art, and this is reflected in the 
art programs in the junior and senior high schools of our nation. 


Adolescent Art 283 

There is a crying need to determine the underlying principles of adoles- 
cent art and to develop and support a program that is concerned primarily 
with the needs of this age group. We know that adolescence is probably 
as distinct a period in the development of individuals within our society 
as is the period called childhood. The need is quite clear, and there is no 
real reason why we should not be able to arrive at an art program that is 
not only distinct in its nature but that can also provide the necessary 
basis for helping to satisfy the needs of this age and to unfold possibilities 
for continued growth. 

Generally there have been three approaches in our secondary schools 
to adolescent art. One approach is mainly concerned with saving the 
precious attributes of child art. Teachers adhering to this method are 
anxious not to lose the fresh, spontaneous approach of the child. A highly 
intuitive teacher can strongly motivate children in such a way as to make 
them forget themselves and paint in a very fresh fashion, as though they 
were again young children. However, it is quite obvious that prolonging 
the spontaneity and unconscious approach of childhood can produce an 
insecurity within youth. Instead of giving him confidence in his own art 
expression, such motivation pulls him back into a prolonged childhood. 
Although the products of such strong motivations may at times be quite 
pleasing, they do not serve the individual in his own critical period of 
growth, and they can undermine confidence in his own natural form of 

A second and more common approach, found in junior and senior 
high schools, is that of emphasizing perfection. Here teachers try to ap- 
proach "professional" standards. In many instances, to the pride of the 
teacher, one can hardly distinguish between a high school art exhibit and 
one from a professional art school. This striving to adhere to adult 
standards deprives the adolescent youth of his own expression, and in a 
sense harks back to days when children were trained how to draw, since 
their own expression lacked "artistic" qualities. It is fairly obvious that 
emphasizing perfection in the public schools completely counteracts the 
democratic meaning of education, for it is only the selected few who are 
able to conform to high standards of adult professionalism. This is espe- 
cially alarming when we realize that if these same few students continue 
on to professional art schools, they often have to unlearn the techniques 
they have so laboriously perfected.-^ 

A third approach to art is centered around what might be termed 
school-type projects. These are the type of art projects with no apparent 


relationship either to child art or to adult professionalism. They have the 
unhappy distinction of being important only because they are included 
in the curriculum. Much time and effort can be spent by the students 
and by the teacher in what is sincerely considered a good art program. 
Such projects may include embossing metal plaques, designing stained 
glass windows, making safety posters, designing monogrammed napkins, 
carving book ends, copying various lettering styles, or carving a football 
player out of soap. The list of such school-type projects is unlimited. These 
tend to parallel the May baskets and sewing cards on the elementary level. 
This approach to art education tends to make a sham and a frill of what 
should be a vital and dynamic part of the school curriculum. 

In addition to the three approaches to art in our secondary schools 
mentioned above, there are some programs making an honest attempt at 
providing a meaningful art experience. It is in this direction that we 
will focus our attention. A meaningful creative program in art for the 
adolescent should be based upon an understanding of the nature and 
meaning of adolescence within our culture. It is only with a thorough 
understanding of the characteristics of this stage that we can deal intel- 
ligently with the problem of constructing a meaningful course of study. 

The Adolescent 

When one is no longer a child, and yet somehow not quite an adult, that 
is adolescence. Just when one becomes an adult is questionable; it can 
be considered the age when one can legally leave public school or when 
one is of voting age. When one leaves childhood is easier to define, at 
least from a physical point of view. Puberty is generally recognized as 
being the end of childhood. Girls usually begin a period of rapid growth 
at about eleven years, and by menarche at about thirteen they will have 
developed the usual feminine bodily characteristics. Although girls do not 
reach their full mature height until about seventeen, growth becomes 
much slower. Boys start to shoot up about two years later than girls; they 
don't start slowing down until fifteen or sixteen, and they reach adult 
height at about nineteen. Their voices may begin to change, the Adam's 
apple grows, and a trace of fuzz appears on their faces at about fifteen 
years. With both sexes, there are skin changes, and it is not unusual for 
body parts to grow at different rates. All these changes are of concern to 

Adolescent Art 285 

these youngsters and obviously have an effect upon how they view them- 
selves in relation to the rest of society. 

Adults — parents and teachers — usually look upon this age as a stage of 
awkwardness and turmoil. Small children can be looked upon as cute, 
but the comment "I don't know what this new generation is coming to" 
is aimed directly at the adolescent. What may be of even greater im- 
portance is that these teen-agers feel that adults have a uniformly low 
opinion of them; and at the same time parents believe that teen-agers 
have high opinions of themselves." To a great extent the usual secondary 
school program tends to emphasize these feelings. Teachers are concerned 
with class control and discipline, whereas the adolescents tend to look 
upon school as an evil necessity. For some youngsters the legal age for 
leaving school can hardly come soon enough, and often secondary art 
courses are selected by these students to fill their waiting time in preference 
to taking other even more frustrating courses. 

Sex has suddenly begun to play an important role. There is no doubt 
that the awakening of sexual urges gives rise to some of the greatest 
concerns of this age. Girls are bombarded with advertisements about how 
to make themselves more femininely alluring by the use of hair rinses, 
deodorants, cosmetics, by squeezing or padding the body, or by various 
dress styles. Romance and love are somehow just over the hill, and many 
hours can be spent in daydreaming. For boys greater attention is often 
focused upon muscle building and attaining masculinity. This is a real 
problem for the youngster who develops later than his classmates. Added 
to all of this, of course, is the general feeling that somehow sex is 
taboo. It has been shown that in other cultures this uncomfortable period 
between puberty and marriage may be considerably shorter. Although 
some girls leave high school for marriage, especially in the lower socio- 
economic levels, marriage can sometimes be delayed for others well beyond 

To an adult removed from this age the teen-age society may look like 
an organized union with its own language, dress, and rules. However, 
there are in-groups and out-groups, which can seem very important to 
belong to or to shun. Conformity can be a powerful force extending not 
only to dress but to behavior as well. Being popular with one's peers is 
often more important than the longer term educational goals. 

The young adolescent may also be very idealistic. He may be anxious 
to rebel against the confused muddle that adults have made of the world 


and is eager to work and strive for remaking his environment. Or he may 
become disgruntled and disillusioned and assume a so-what attitude. 
Rapid emotional changes can come about through a phone call from some 
special person or by being told by mother that he has to be home at ten 
thirty. Many romantic ideas of becoming an explorer or a famous movie 
star go out the window, with the realization that a living must be made 
in a few short years or months. Certainly the adolescent idealism can and 
should have some practical means of expression. 

There should be no thought that teen-agers are all alike. Although 
all young people face changes within the self and are also confronted with 
resulting changes in their environment, every adolescent is a distinct 

The Need for Adolescent Art 

It is quite clear that a junior and senior high school program, if it is to 
be eiTective, must be built upon the needs of the growing adolescent. Above 
all, it must provide the adolescent with opportunities for expression of 
his thinking, his emotions, and his reactions to his environment. As Dr. 
Cole has said, "Adolescents need outlets for their emotional interests and 
for self-expression. Their constantly shifting social adjustments inevitably 
put considerable strain upon them. They have a real need for such sub- 
jects as music, art, dramatics, writing. In these subjects, as in the sciences, 
a clear distinction must be made between the few for whom the subject is 
a speciality and the many for whom it is a means of self-expression. The 
object of the work in these fields should be to provide for such self- 
expression as can be indulged in by the 'untalented.' "^ 

The production and sale of paint-by-the-number kits and the popular 
fill-ins point to the fact that many adults have a need for some art ex- 
pression. That these kits are being sold shows the startling failure of the 
present art program within the public schools to make a meaningful con- 
tribution to the needs of these children. Making a picture of a bottle, a 
book, and a dried-up orange or designing a border for an ash tray cer- 
tainly does not contribute to the adolescent's understanding of himself 
or of his environment. 

Ideally an art program in the secondary schools should contribute to 
the continued growth of individuals. One of the important questions 
facing the teen-agers is that of self-identity. "Who am I, where do I be- 

Figure 83. 

long, where am I going?" Subject matter at this stage of development 
should be aimed directly at the adolescent himself. Adult orientation 
toward art and the striving for perfection is just as foreign as the uncon- 
scious approach of childhood would be. This age is filled with drives, 
questions, problems, and emotional upheavals; these should be recognized 
as suitable material for an art program, for as in the past, they are the 
basis for all true expression. 

Art materials for the adolescent should be the same materials as those 

Figure 84. A typical art class in high 
school includes students who will become 
businessmen, laborers, or professional 
people. Occasionally one may become an 

constantly used outside school. One of the aims of learning is to provide 
us with the ability and tools to perform more efficiently at the immediate 
level and to provide the basis for continued learning. The art program, 
then, should provide a means of continuing expression of the self, whether 
for Sunday painters, for the evening furniture builder, or for the man with 
his own photographic darkroom. We will deal in a later chapter with 
some of the questions about the "gifted" child; however, the person who 
is serious about continuing his professional training in art will have ample 




opportunity in art school or college to develop knowledge about special- 
ized art techniques. Certainly there is no reason for engraving, etching, 
lithography, copper enameling, or bronze casting to be included in the 
usual high school program. There is no question but that the youngster 
with an energetic teacher can get enthusiastic about these subject matter 
areas and the perfecting of techniques, but to a great extent these skills 
will avail him nothing once he has left the high school, nor do they afford 
the opportunity for self-identity. 


The art program should also provide the basis for a cultural directness 
and honesty. We discussed earlier the schizophrenic tendencies of our 
society. The negative implications and effects upon our thinking processes 
of accepting falsehoods and imitation within our own culture as being 
normal should certainly be emphasized. Attention should certainly be 
focused in our art program on such discrepancy in our living. Pointing 
out dishonesty and sham when it occurs in architectural planning, in the 
purchasing of accessories, or in our political life should make for a greater 
realization of the importance of integrated thinking. 

Art courses in the secondary schools are usually thought of as being 
creative. To what extent this is true depends upon how the courses are 
conducted more than upon the subject matter itself. We have stressed the 
necessity for encouraging and developing creative thinking throughout 
this book. In looking back through history we find that many people 
considered creative began producing early in life. The adolescent age is 
filled with emotional energy; with proper guidance in the art program 
this energy could be channeled into a vigorous creative drive. The fourteen- 
year-old may be so concerned with conformity and peer-group pressure 
that real support needs to be given to original and individualistic thinking. 
By the time a student is a junior or senior in high school, however, he 
has begun to focus his attention upon the adult world of work. Here is 
no child, but a person who has developed the ability to think abstractly, 
who has become aware of social problems, and who is full of drive to 
make a better world. Here especially the adult can be responsible for 
guiding and sharing learning experiences and providing meaningful prob- 
lems, which require divergent thinking and creative action. Without ques- 
tion, art at the secondary level should provide for the stimulation of 
creativity and foster its development whether the student will continue in 
adult life as an artist, scientist, housewife, or plumber (see Figure 84). 

It should become apparent from the preceding discussion that there is a 
need for an art program keyed to this exciting age. Emphasis should be 
placed directly upon the student and the depth of his experiences. Fiddling 
around with art materials and procedures has no place in the secondary 
schools. However no art program can be designed without an understand- 
ing of the particular environment in which it will be placed. The general 
characteristics of the age group should be considered as should the indi- 
vidual characteristics of the particular student. Both play an important 
part in program planning. 


A Consideration of Subject Matter 

Adolescent art has its own special characteristics — it is neither the un- 
conscious childish mode of expression nor the art form of the professional 
artist and craftsman. It is, instead, the art expression of the adolescent 
youth, regardless of whether or not he will later engage professionally in 
art activities. That such art activity is highly personal and only in special 
cases is of highly skilled and aesthetic quality should be kept in mind. 

Subject matter should be considered as the means of developing an 
interest in, and enthusiasm for, art experiences. Subject matter should 
never be considered as restricting the adolescent to a predetermined topic. 
Ideally, each youngster should be so motivated that the main task of the 
teacher is to guide the progress in such a way that a truly meaningful 
experience results. The adolescent has a wealth of ideals, drives, and 
dreams; his reactions to himself, his wishful thinking (see Figure 85), 
his reaction to his society (see Figure 86) — all make excellent source ma- 
terial. Teaching methods that restrict the individual instead of making 
him free are poor. Subject matter that has no relation to the individual 
needs of the student can restrict freedom of expression. Art should not 
be looked upon as a duty, nor should a student feel that the assignment 
needs to be completed because of the pressure of grades or as an obliga- 
tion to adults. Rather the student should feel that the art experience is 
of his own choice and that the problems he faces and the failures and 
successes he achieves are truly his. 

Subject matter at the secondary school level should be considered a 
means for involving the student in an individually rewarding experience. 
That is, the subject matter should open up areas of interest and not be 
considered merely as rigid problems to perform. Students will develop the 
need for acquiring certain skills, for these will be necessary to gain satis- 
faction and a sense of accomplishment. The teaching of skills and tech- 
niques, therefore, should be considered as a means to an end, and should 
be born from the need for expression. 

The need for a more complex technique will follow the development 
of complexity in expression. This need can be satisfied by the individual 
with guidance from an alert and sensitive teacher. Skills and techniques 
that are copied either from the teacher or from how-to-do-it books are 
unsuitable for self-expression, for these are basically rules and formulas 
for achieving a certain type of product. As we have seen, the visually 

Figure 85. The adolescent projects his feelings, desires, and attitudes 
into his work. His personal expressions should be respected. 

minded person may have a very different approach to art from the haptic 
person, who may be frustrated by exercises such as painting a picture in 
the pointilhstic method. Particular techniques of art will be discussed in 
greater detail in a subsequent section; what needs emphasis here is that 
without the necessary desire for expression, teaching skills or techniques 
would be only an escape from the real problem. A method of art is good 
if it brings out the innate qualities of an individual by developing self- 
confidence and the desire to go ahead. 
Essentially there are two basic needs to consider for an art education 

Adolescent Art 293 

program. These are the individual psychological needs of the adolescent 
and the broader needs of society. Clearly the needs of today's society are 
not those of fifty years ago. The professional artists today need study and 
experience beyond the high school level regardless of their area of special- 
ization. Certainly, gifted youngsters should be given the opportunity to 
explore possibilities in the arts and not be limited to making an end 
product to satisfy the teacher's preconceived list of art projects. The search 
for honesty and truth in the arts needs to be carried on by all members 
of our society whether they are planning to continue their education 
beyond the secondary school or not. Art education should be concerned 

Figure 86. Subject matter should provide the opportunity 
for the adolescent to express his reactions to society, as 
shown in this social comment. 

Figure 87. Understanding and sensitivity are basic 
requirements for the art teacher. 

with the needs of the individual, for the needs of individuals make up the 
needs of society. Subject matter cannot be selected at random but rather 
must be an integral part of the life of the adolescent within his particular 

Some Suggestions for Subject Matter in a 
Secondary School Art Program 

An attempt has been made in the following course of study to relate 
the needs of the adolescent and the needs of society to a meaningful art 
program, which can feasibly be considered within the present structure of 
the secondary school. There are no arbitrary grade levels established, but 
rather the content is grouped under five main headings, each dealing with 
experiences of the teen-ager as the basis for the topic area. These are 
(1) Experiences of the Self, (2) Experiences in the Home, (3) Experiences 
in the Community, (4) Experiences in Nature, and (5) Experiences in 

Needless to say, the success of this or of any other curriculum rests with 
the qualifications of the teacher (see Figure 87), with his broad under- 
standing of the importance of art and with his sensitivity to the needs of 
his pupils. The yon and your in the outline refer to the student. 


I. Experiences of the self in the home 
A. Understanding personal moods 
1. Sculpturing 

a. Modeling a clay mask referring to the self 

(1) Yawning 

(2) Laughing 

(3) Thinking hard 

(4) Whistling 

(5) Crying 

(6) Singing 

(7) Smiling 

(8) Being frightened 

b. Casting a mask in plaster, using a one-piece mold 

c. Modeling a full head in which the position of the head also 
contributes to the expression 

d. Carving 

(1) Tiredness 

(2) Singing 

(3) Excitedness 

(4) Looking out 


e. Cutting in soft stone 

(1) Listening 

(2) Being sad 

(3) Turning around, searching for something 

(4) Praying 

f. Casting a head in plaster 

(1) In a waste mold 

(2) In a piece mold 

g. Modeling a figure referring to the self 

(1) In action at home (studying, carrying, getting up) 

(2) A movement of emotional significance 

2. Drawing with crayon, charcoal, conte crayon, pen, or brush 

a. Reaching for something at home 

b. Going upstairs 

c. Coming downstairs 

d. Reading a book 

e. Being tired 

f. Lying on the couch 

3. Painting in tempera, water color, oil, or combination of these 

a. How you feel in the morning 

b. How you feel on a rainy day 

c. How you feel in the evening 

d. Feeling sleepy 

e. Feeling angry 

f. The ugliest person in the world 

g. A pretty, pretty girl 

4. Designing emotional abstractions of moods (gay, laughing, ex- 

cited, calm) 
B. Home relations 
L Modehng 

a. A group of two friends 

b. Mother and child 

c. You and your brother (sister) 

2. Carving 

a. Your pet 

b. A creature from outer space 

3. Drawing 

a. An evening at home 

Adolescent Art 297 

b. Playing with friends 

c. Listening to music 

d. A date 

4. Painting 

a. Home life (farm home, city home, country home, mountain 

b. Saying grace 

c. Life in a cabin where you would like to be 

d. An abstraction of musical rhythms (jazz, dance, march, 

5. Design 

a. The type of home you would like to be in 

b. A relationship of textures of different materials (satin, silk, 
linen, cotton, wool, burlap; different kinds of wood, metal, 

c. A drawing to scale of the living room of your family. Cut 
out the furniture to scale and move it on your drawing until 
it serves the function best and you also like it 

6. Framing or matting one of your paintings or drawings 
C. Social life 

1. Painting 

a. In the playroom 

b. At the fireplace 

c. Dancing at a party 

d. Going out with a friend 

e. Watching television 

f. At dinner 

g. In the attic 

h. Helping to burn leaves 

i. Shoveling snow 

j. Mother cleaning the kitchen 
k. Holiday preparations 

1. A look out of the window 
m. Different social atmospheres in different homes 

(1) In different countries 

(2) In slums 

(3) In well-kept homes 

n. Back yard belonging to a family that likes 


(1) Gardening 

(2) To hang their laundry 

(3) To play 

2. Posing a model 

a. Raking the leaves 

b. Pushing the lawnmower 

c. Reading a book 

d. Climbing a ladder 

e. Carrying a log 

3. Design 

a. Decoration for your house 

b. A "No Trespassing" sign for your door 

c. Christmas-tree decorations out of scrap material 

4. Grooming 

a. For different occasions 

b. Trying out color effects for different types and complexions 

c. What colors look best on you 

d. How clothing affects you 
II. Experiences of the self in nature 

A. Sensitivity to form 

1. Sculpturing 

a. Finding forms of nature and bringing out the innate quali- 
ties of rocks, shells, wood forms, and so on 

b. Making a collage of forms of nature 

c. Finding forms in nature suggestive of fantasy 

2. Painting 

a. Cloud formations 

b. Different forces in nature 

c. Flat desert 

d. Mountains 

e. Sea 

f. Rock formations 
g. Plant forms 

3. Design (graphics) 

a. Snowflakes 

b. Speed of wind 

c. Rhythm of movements in nature (waves in water, in fields) 

d. The force of fire 

e. Different textures brought together 

Adolescent Art 299 

f. Forms in plant life 
4. Photography 

a. Forms in plants, in close-ups 

b. Rocks and animals 

c. Leaf structures, moss, barks, and so on 

d. Crystals, surfaces of weathered rocks, crevices, and so on 

e. Shells 

f. Skins, webs, beehives 

g. Ripples on waves 

h. Shadows on different textures 
B. How nature affects you 

1. Sculpturing 

a. Abstract forms in nature expressing personal meaning 

b. Forms that affect you positively 

c. Forms that affect you negatively 

d. Walking against wind 

e. Relaxing in nature 

f. In a storm 

2. Painting 

a. A hot day 

b. A dull day 

c. Wide open on a plain 

d. Between narrow gorges 

e. In a drizzle 

f. Walking in snow 

g. Different moods in nature 
h. Sandstorms 

i. Floods 

). Twilight 
k. Moonlight 

1. Seasons 
m. Afraid of lightning 

3. Design 

a. Mobiles with gentle motions and with speedy motions 

b. Collages of smooth textures and of rough textures 

c. Abstractions of "feelings" in nature 

(1) Glowing 

(2) Cool 

(3) Lonely 


(4) Gay 

(5) Forlorn 

(6) Spooky 

(7) Wet 

4. Costume 

a. Costumes for different seasons 

b. Costumes for different climates 

5. Architecture: how nature affects housing 
C. Social life in nature 

1. Drawing motions in outdoor sports 

a. Swimming 

b. Jumping 

c. Running 

d. Playing football 

e. Throwing 

2. Painting 

a. Hiking in nature 

b. Mountain climbing 

c. Skiing 

d. Skating 

e. Picnics 

f. Tenting 

g. Farming, plowing, haying 

h. Traveling (by car, by train, by horseback) 

3. Design 

a. A bench and tables for picnics 

b. An outdoor bungalow 

c. Garden furniture 

4. Costume 

a. Different uniforms for sports 

b. Costumes for hiking in mountains, in the tropics and so on 
III. Experiences of the self in the community 

A. Relationship of self to the community 
1. Painting 

a. Visiting in stores 

b. The way to school 

c. Walking down the main street 

d. Helping in community drives 

e. Going to church 

Adolescent Art 301 

f. Dancing 

g. Using recreation facilities 

h. Helping out with work in the neighborhood 

i. Looking for mail 

j. Going shopping at the supermarket 
k. At the barber shop 

1. Going through slum sections 
m. Going through residential areas 
n. At the fair 
o. Going to the movies 

2. Sculpturing 

a. Praying in church 

b. Greeting the neighbors 

c. A fountain for the schoolyard 

d. A football player 

e. What you want to be 

f. Listening to a concert 
g. A beggar 

3. Drawing 

a. At the shooting stand 

b. Sitting on a roller coaster 

c. Stepping into a bus 

4. Design 

a. Why you like certain buildings 

b. Why you dislike certain buildings 

c. Light patterns at night — traffic, neon 

d. Abstraction of how you feel 

(1) On a roller coaster 

(2) When dancing 

(3) When listening to music 

e. Studying historical places and buildings of the community 

5. Excursions 

a. Museums 

b. Factories 

c. Recreation areas 

d. Craftsmen 

e. Historical buildings 

6. Costume design appropriate to the occasion and the individual 
a. Sports clothes 


(1) Romantic girl or boy 

(2) Athletic girl or boy 

b. Street wear 

(1) Stout person 

(2) Slender person 

(3) Tall person 

(4) Slim or average 

c. Evening clothes to fit personality, build, complexion, and 

d. Costumes that will make a tall person look shorter 

e. Costumes that will be becoming to a short person 

£. A wardrobe for yourself (hat, bag, gloves, tie, socks, hand- 
B. Relationships of self to other communities 

1. Painting 

a. Traveling by car 

b. Staying overnight 

c. Waking up elsewhere 

d. A mural of the important events of your visit 

e. How it feels being a stranger 

f. Visiting stores 

2. Cartooning 

a. Collecting various types of cartoons 

b. Analyzing for technique and eflfectiveness 

c. Drawing several cartoons based on school, local, or national 

IV. Experiences of the self in industry 
A. Adventures in industry 

1. Painting 

a. Impressions from a visit to the dairy, steel mills, coal mine, 
brick plant, coke oven, tannery, lumber mill and so on 

b. How you feel while observing the operation of machines 

c. Identifying with workers in different industries 

(1) Being in a steel mill 

(2) Serving the furnace 

(3) Being on the assembly line 

2. Design 

a. Abstraction inspired by machine parts 

Plate 11. The imagination may be gi\en free rein when 
the student creates imaginative forms from papier 
mache. Topics of this type appeal to a wide age range. 
Figures represent anything from moon creatures to un- 
heard-of animals. 

Plate 12. One aim of the art program is to develop the 
ability to think creatively. These papier mache masks 
display great diversity in interpreting the problem. 
Each student's work reflects his degrees of originality 
and flexibilitv in the use of the material. 

Plate 13. Adult art has a tremendous range. Artists work 
in every area of our life, changing the shape of things 
around us and seeking new forms of expression. The ado- 
lescent should be aware of the possibilities and scope of 
art. "Numbers in Color" by Jasper Johns is encaustic and 
collage on canvas. (Courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York, Gift of Seymour H. Knox) 


Adolescent Art 303 

b. Abstraction inspired by motion, rhythm, and accuracy of 
3. Drawing 

a. Movements of workers 

b. Carrying a heavy load on the shoulders 

c. A group of workers on the highway 

d. Swinging a pick 

e. Pulling a rope 

f. Pushing a cart 

g. Lifting a bag 

h. Climbing a ladder 
i. Two persons carrying a log 
j. Digging a hole 

B. Appreciation for tools and processes in industry 

1. Pottery 

a. Visiting a commercial pottery 

b. Working on the potter's wheel 

c. Experimenting with firing methods 

d. Experimenting with glazing 

2. Textiles 

a. Visiting or seeing a film on the textile industry 

b. Discussing ways of textile printing (block, stencil, silk screen, 
batik, tie and dye) 

c. Trying one of above methods 

3. Weaving 

a. Using different looms 

b. Hooking 

4. Woodworking 

a. Designing and executing a wood panel 

b. Building a child's toy 

c. Making a simple, functional piece of furniture 

5. Metal working 

a. Use of wire and sheet metal 

b. Designing jewelry 

C. Industrial products you buy and use 

1. Displaying objects from your personal belongings that you con- 
sider good industrial design and contrasting them with what 
you consider poor 


2. Enumerating the differences 

3. Purchasing from a local store an inexpensive article that you 
consider good industrial design and defending it 

4. Selecting from advertisements good industrial products 


I. Evolution of the home 

A. Evolution of building materials: studying basic materials used in 
construction of homes during different periods and cultures 

B. Evolution of architectural features (relating to different types of 
materials: mud, clay, branches, wood, bricks, stone, steel, glass) 

1. Collecting pictures of homes built with different materials 

2. Comparing different kinds of covers (roofs) of houses that 
were used for protection in different periods and cultures 

3. Discussing what means man has invented to get from the 
ground level to other levels 

4. Discussing doorways in houses of different cultures 

5. Discussing how hardware developed 

6. Comparing doorknobs 

a. Egyptian 

b. Greek 

c. Roman 

d. Medieval 

e. Renaissance 

f. Colonial 

g. Modern 

7. Drawing conclusions from this comparison 

C. Evolution of furniture 

1. Showing the evolution of a chair, a chest, and so on 

2. Making a list of all movable furniture 

a. In a colonial home 

b. In a contemporary home 

3. Discussing how furniture can function toward better home life 

4. Comparing furniture styles with the change of home styles and 
home life 

5. Finding in several contemporary chairs what was important to 
the designer in determining his plan 

a. Material 

b. Function 

c. Design 

Adolescent Art 305 

D. Evolution of utensils 

1. Listing utensils for various rooms 

a. Discussing which were adopted from an older civilization 

b. Discussing which are of contemporary origin 

c. Discussing which are functional 

2. Listing materials used in the making of utensils today and 
comparing with previous periods 

3. Tracing the development of a spoon 

a. Primitive 

b. Egyptian 

c. African 

d. Greek 

e. Roman 

f. Medieval 

g. Renaissance 

h. American Indian 

i. Colonial 

j. Contemporary 

4. Doing the same with other utensils 

a. The key 

b. The knife 

c. The vase 

d. The lamp 

E. Art activities 
L Design 

a. Drawing to scale the living room of your family and com- 
paring it with that of other periods 

b. Adapting a plan of a colonial living room to present-day use 

c. Discussing what changes were necessary and why you made 

d. Redecorating your own room or any other room with which 
you are well acquainted 

e. Making an abstraction of different steps or ramps 

f. Making an abstraction of different building materials 

g. Finding a poorly designed piece of furniture and redesign- 
ing it 

h. Discussing what changes were necessary and why 
2. Drawing 

a. Doorways in your locality 

b. Different kinds of stairways in your locality 


c. Different kinds of roofs 

d. Someone sitting in chairs of different periods, to show how 
posture is determined by the design 

(1) Sling chair 

(2) Contour chair 

3. Painting 

a. How you would feel in different home situations 

(1) Living as a hunter in a paleolithic cave 

(2) Living on a Mississippi River houseboat 

(3) Living in a colonial mansion 

(4) Living in a contemporary home 

b. Abstractions using colors that refer to the different living 

c. Murals 

(1) The evolution of homes 

(2) The evolution of stairways and ramps 

(3) The evolution of the chair 

4. Photography 

a. Gates of different periods in your locality 

b. Entrance doorways of different periods 

c. Houses of various ages 
II. Planning the site 

A. Home surroundings 

1. Discussing how character of landscape influences and deter- 
mines the essential features of house design 

2. Collecting photos of homes that are influenced by the character 
of the landscape in which they are built 

a. A house in a desert 

b. A house in the mountains 

c. A house on a shore 

d. A house on a hill 

e. Houses in warm climates 

f. Houses in regions with cold winters 

3. Collecting photos of driveways and garages adapted to dif- 
ferent surroundings 

B. Location of home on lot 

1. Deciding how you can best locate the house on the lot 

a. Privacy 

b. Sufficient garden area 

Adolescent Art 307 

c. Outdoor-living area 

d. Convenient garage 

e. Maximum benefits from air, light, and views 

2. Considering restrictions of street or property lines 

3. Suggesting effective means for creating privacy (screens, levels, 
plantings, trellises, and so on) 

C. Building ordinances 

1. Studying your community ordinances prescribing such factors 
as the location of house on lot, frontages, minimum costs, 
building materials, and window space 

2. Going through your community to compare the houses accord- 
ing to the restrictions of building ordinances 

D. Art activities 

1. Design 

a. Planning a home to conform to a particular area in your own 
community, keeping in a mind natural trees, lakes, ponds, 
streams, scenic beauty, and terrain 

b. Designing a house 

(1) On a shore 

(2) On a hill 

(3) In a desert 

(4) In warm climates 

(5) In a cold climate 

(6) On rocky terrain 

c. Collecting products of nature of your vicinity and combin- 
ing them in an effective arrangement 

d. Designing an outdoor living area for your own home 

e. Designing an outdoor living area for a particular location 
(mountain, shore, and so on) 

f. Trying to redesign your own house to make it fit your own 
lot better 

2. Drawing 

a. Landscapes in your immediate vicinity and houses that fit 
the character of the landscapes 

b. Views from windows, trying by changing the size of the 
windows, to improve the view 

c. Various outdoor living areas with various activities going on 

d. Crowded areas and slums, showing how you would improve 


3. Photography 

a. Houses on different terrahis 

b. Houses with various landscaping 

c. Effective entrances using environment as part of design 

d. Views through windows, keeping the window sill as part 
of the picture 

e. Views through doorways, of patios, of terraces 

4. Sculpturing 

a. Designing outdoor sculpture for specific yards 

b. Designing a fountain sculpture for the yard 
III. Interior design 

A. Designing rooms for specific families: zoning according to needs 
of the family 

1. Diagraming the inside area of your home according to activity 
zones and quiet zones 

2. Deciding what different zones your family needs 

a. Entertaining 

b. Living 

c. Sleeping 

d. Studying 

e. Eating 

f. Other 

3. Discussing the needs of a family of five 

4. Showing how exterior and interior of a house should harmonize 

a. Collecting pictures in which they do harmonize 

b. Collecting pictures in which exterior design contradicts the 

5. Deciding if your room reflects your needs and personality 

6. Deciding how you would change it if you had no limits 

B. Structural parts of rooms (doors, windows, built-in units) 

1. Finding out what kinds of doors you have in your home, col- 
lecting illustrations of doors, and deciding which doors (free- 
swinging, non-swinging, sliding, folding, all glass, flush wood, 
paneled wood, and so on) you would prefer and why 

2. Collecting illustrations of different kinds of windows 

a. Finding out the different ways by which they can be opened 

b. Going through your community or the outskirts of it and 
finding out which of the houses with picture windows ad- 
here to the principles that picture windows should make the 

Adolescent Art 309 

landscape a part of your daily enjoyment without interfering 
with your privacy 
3. Deciding what built-in units you know of 

a. Collecting pictures of various fireplaces, bookshelves that are 
part of the interior architecture, closets of various sizes serv- 
ing different purposes, seating arrangements. 

b. Examining all these pictures for the relationship of function, 
design, and material used 

C. Choosing colors 

1. Considering exposure, size, use, and personal taste 

2. Making a model room and experimenting by changing the 
colors of the walls with different color schemes 

3. Deciding what you would do to make the room appear wider, 
longer, narrower, higher, lower 

4. Planning color schemes for different rooms serving various 
functions (a quiet room, a music room, a dining room, a bath- 

5. Planning color schemes for light rooms, for dark rooms, for 
different exposures 

D. Choosing lighting 

1. Deciding where fixed lighting is needed 

2. Comparing different kinds of lighting fixtures with the design 
of the home 

3. Comparing fluorescent and incandescent lighting, to decide 
where you would best use each 

4. Studying different types of lamps (desk lamps, table lamps, 
floor lamps, wall lamps, ceiling lamps) 

5. Deciding what kinds of lamps you would like to have in your 
room and why 

6. Studying the difference between the lighting in utility rooms 
(kitchen, bathroom) and living rooms 

E. Furnishing rooms 

1. Studying contemporary designs of furniture for different pur- 

2. Relating function, design, and material to various pieces of 

F. Art activities 
1. Design 

a. A table lamp (The base may be made of any material — 


plastic, wood, ceramics. The shade must belong to the base. 
In which surrounding will it be used?) 

b. An outdoor light for a porch, entrance for a driveway, a 
garage, or activity area 

c. A coffee table 

2. Drawing 

a. A home plan, dividing it into activity zones 

b. Activities in different rooms 

3. Painting 

a. When you look out the window from different rooms 

(1) Your room 

(2) Your corner 

b. A personal mood as related to your house or your room 

4. Weaving place mats (combining different materials) 

5. Making on a potter's wheel 

a. A vase 

b. A bowl 

c. A dish 

6. Building 

a. A model of a one-story home with two bedrooms, kitchen, 
living room, bath, showing the division of the interior into 
rooms (Consider minimum hallways, traffic system, win- 
dows, storage, view, doors, built-in closets.) 

b. A table with a tile top from ceramic-tile scraps 

c. A candle holder from wood or metal 

d. Remaking or refinishing a chair, bookcase, and so on 
IV. Home life 

A. Family life 

1. Sculpturing 

a. Modeling: Mother and child 

b. Cutting in soft stone: Your family 

c. Carving: Child and his pet 

d. Modeling 

(1) You and your younger brother 

(2) Praying 

2. Drawing 

a. Experimenting with crayon, charcoal, conte crayon, pen, or 

b. Going to church 



Adolescent Art 311 

c. Going on a hike 

d. At the dinner table 

e. An argument 

f. Portraits of the family 

3. Painting families of different incomes, as if you were a mem- 
ber; how people live 

4. Mural painting: Family life from morning to evening 

B. Things to do to improve the home 

1. Sketching 

a. Changes you would like to make in your home 

b. Changes in the landscaping of your home 

2. Designing 

a. Bird bath 

b. Fireplace utensils 

c. Mailbox 

d. Towel rack 

3. Hanging pictures so that they can be seen, considering the best 
light, interference by other items, the level of the viewer 

4. Flower arrangements 

a. Relation of flowers to container 

(1) Color 

(2) Size 

b. Combinations of flowers 

c. Branches 

d. Arrangements of products of nature on trays (moss, shells, 
rocks, foliage, flowers) 

C. Gardening and landscaping 

1. Dividing your yard according to functions 

a. Living area 

b. Recreation area 

c. Play area 

d. Gardening area 

(1) Flower 

(2) Vegetable 

2. Making a plan of your yard 

3. Considering the lawn area in relationship to the planted area 

4. Considering the relationship among shrubs, trees, and flower 

5. Sculpturing 


a. An out-of-doors figure 

b. A mobile 

6. Painting 

a. Your impression of your garden 

b. Your feeling about flowers 

c. A close-up of the part of your garden that you like most 

d. What happens in your garden 

7. Woodworking 

a. A bench for your garden 

b. Designing and making a special fence (louvre, slat, solid, 

c. Designing and making a bird house or feeder 

8. Design, using as an inspiration the textures, shapes, and colors 
you find in your garden 

a. A collage 

b. An abstract painting 


I. Community planning 
A. Present conditions 

1. Surveying present conditions in your town that need improve- 

a. Painting 

(1) Traffic jam 

(2) Slum areas 

(3) Narrow streets 

(4) Poor housing 

(5) Poor working conditions 

(6) Floods 

(7) Lack of playgrounds 

(8) Children playing on the street 

(9) How people live 

(10) Different social atmospheres 

b. Drawing 

(1) Life on the street 

(2) A building in progress 

(3) Children playing on a vacant lot 

2. Surveying present conditions that you accept 

Adolescent Art 313 


a. Painting 

(1) Your recreation area 

(2) Your playground 

(3) Newly designed streets 

(4) The skating rink 

(5) A residential area 

b. Drawing 

(1) The new school 

(2) The airport 

(3) The bus station 

(4) The city hall 

(5) Fairs, parades, festivities 

c. Mural painting 

(1) For the school cafeteria 

(2) A cross section of town 

(a) Important activities 

(b) Important buildings 

(c) Important facilities 

(d) Important events 

d. Window display 

(1) A display that stresses uniqueness and quality 

(2) A display for a sale 

(3) One window of a store arranged for a special day 
Future improvements of your town 

1. Painting 

a. The city of the future 

b. Future traffic 

c. The future city at night 

d. Living in the city of the future 

2. Design 

a. A future airport 

b. A future bus station 

c. A plan for redesigning a part of your town 

d. Shopping center or mall 

e. A bridge 

3. Photography 

a. New and old housing 

b. Narrow and wide streets 


c. Details of architectural designs 

d. Interesting shadows 

e. Textures (various pavements, various building surfaces) 

f. Contrasts (a lonely tree on a building lot, a church near a 
skyscraper, a bird in traffic) 

C. Architectural and landscape design 

1. Art history 

a. The influences on the buildings in your town 

b. The oldest building in your town 

c. The first building that broke with traditional pattern 

(1) Kind of building 

(2) Relationship of the building to the town 

(3) Builder — one person, private group, public group 

(4) Affect on other buildings 

d. Historic buildings, arts, and crafts in your town 

(1) Paintings that refer to your town 

(2) Objects that relate to your town 

(3) Crafts that are peculiar to your town 

(4) People who have contributed to your town 

2. Design 

a. A plan of an ideal farm 

b. An effective, aesthetically pleasing parking lot 

c. A public park 

(1) Landscape areas 

(2) Recreation areas 

(3) Play areas 

(4) A pond 

d. A small city park in front of one of your public buildings 

D. Transportation and communication 

1. Design: Inventing your own road signs (stop, slow, curve, 

2. Mural painting: A mural for the airport, bus station, post office 

3. Making a soap box racer, a rowboat, or a dinghy 

4. Visiting and discussing the uses of art 

a. Newspaper plants 

b. Television studios 

c. Publishers 

E. Interaction with other communities and countries (finding out 
where the population of your community came from; inviting 

Adolescent Art 315 

people from different countries to talk to your group; finding out 
about their customs and cultures) 

1. Painting a mural 

a. Where the people of your town came from 

b. A community festival 

c. The lives of people in various countries 

2. Art history 

a. The relationship between art and life in the different periods 
of history in your town, and in different epochs and cultures, 
as shown by different houses and how life must have been in 

b. Influences in your community of other periods and cultures 
(in buildings, in furniture, in art objects, in merchandise, 
in utensils) 

II. Education and citizenship 

A. Health 

1. Sketching out-of-door activities: 

a. Tennis 

b. Golf 

c. Baseball 

d. Flying kites 

2. Painting 

a. Contrasting clean and dirty (houses, restaurants) 

b. Various functions of a hospital 

c. Emotions or experiences during illness 

d. Unhealthy conditions in housing 

B. School environment and education 

1. Improving the appearance of your classroom 

a. Reorganizing furniture for better function 

b. Adding a well-designed display area 

2. Illustrating your favorite story or book 

3. Visiting museums 

a. Works of local artists 

b. The permanent collection 

c. Types of displays 

d. How traveling exhibits are hung 

4. Exhibits 

a. Arranging products of nature (shells, rocks, moss, plants) 

b. Arranging an exhibit according to a specific topic 


(1) Technique 

(2) Theme 

(3) Material 

(4) Subject matter 

5. Excursions 

a. Local artists, musicians, collectors 

b. Newspaper printing 

c. Local craftsman (carpenter, potter, jeweler) 

d. Factories and industries 

6. Painting 

a. Listening to a concert at the theater 

b. A visit to the museum 

c. Fire 

d. Studying 

e. Reading in the library 

f. Helping accident victims 

g. In the school bus 
III. Recreation 

A. Theater 

1. Formal aspects of stage design 

a. The effect of horizontal and vertical lines in relationship to 

b. The effect of different levels 

c. The effect of lighting 

d. The meaning of big spaces versus small spaces 

e. The meaning of foreground and background 

f. The center of interest 

g. The emotional content 
h. The social atmosphere 

i. Period and style 

2. Designing a stage set and lighting 

a. A dramatic scene 

(1) A graveyard 

(2) A wilderness 

(3) A prison 

b. A mass scene 

(1) A riot 

(2) A festival 

Adolescent Art 317 

(3) A fair 

c. A small village square 

d. A scene in an industrial section or factory court 

e. A drawing-room comedy 

3. Costume: studying the characters of one play and designing the 
costumes and make up 

4. Masks 

a. Making masks for a specific play 

(1) Fantastic 

(2) Grotesque 

b. Studying masks of different periods and cultures 

5. Puppetry: designing stage set and characters for a puppet show 
B. Music 

1. Design 

a. Listening to various musical moods and painting your im- 
pressions in abstract designs 

b. Painting abstractions interpreting sound 

(1) A trumpet 

(2) A drum 

(3) A violin 

(4) A flute 

c. Trying to catch rhythm and mood 

(1) A symphony orchestra 

(2) A band 

(3) A jazz orchestra 

(4) A chamber ensemble 

d. Designing a cover for a specific record 

2. Poster designing 

a. Announcing a music festival in your town 

b. Announcing a band concert 

c. Announcing a choir concert 

d. Announcing a chamber-music recital 

3. Sculpturing 

a. A three-dimensional form suggesting music 

b. Masks 

(1) Singing a sad song 

(2) Singing a blue song 

(3) Singing a happy melody 


4. Painting 

a. Listening to a concert 

b. Jazz 

5. Sketching motions of players during a rehearsal 

6. Drawing a layout for a specific program 

C. Dance 

1. Costume designing 

a. Costumes for a creative dance (mourning, a clown, depres- 

b. Costumes for a folk dance 

2. Decorating for dance 

3. Designing abstractions of various dance rhythms 

a. Blues 

b. Tango 

c. Jazz 

d. Folk dances 

e. Ballet 

f. Creative dance 

4. Sketching dance motions, one movement in time sequences 

5. Art history : Representations of dance through different periods 
and cultures 

6. Painting your personal feeling for dance 

7. Sculpturing 

a. A dancer performing a specific dance or rhythm 

b. An abstract form suggesting dance 

D. Motion picture, radio, television 

1. Studying a motion picture for its intrinsic qualities 

a. Use of close-ups to direct attention to specific forms or actions 

b. Use of various spaces and times 

c. Use of movement 

d. Mass movements 

e. Insertion of seemingly unrelated parts (such as clouds, storm) 
underscoring emotions 

f. Fading in 

2. Studying the various forms of films 

a. Entertaining 

b. Instructional 

c. Documentary 

d. Historic, dramatic 


Adolescent Art 319 

3. Studying the differences between stage production and movie 

4. Design 

a. Enclosures for a radio (table radio, portable radio, built-in 
hi-fi or stereo) 

b. Enclosures for a television set (table model, floor model, 
built-in unit) 

5. Studying television as an art medium: quality of intimacy, 

E. Outdoor recreation 

1. Recreation areas in your community 

a. Desirable locations 

b. Facilities 

(1) For children 

(2) For youth 

(3) For adults 

2. Designing a functionally spaced recreation area on a specific 
locality in your town 

a. For various sports 

b. For playing and games 

c. For sitting and eating 

3. Designing and building 

a. A table-bench combination 

b. An outdoor fireplace 

c. Outdoor cooking utensils 

4. Sketching actions from nature (sport and play) 

5. Painting 

a. Life at a recreation area 

b. The feeling of noise and motion 

c. Cooking outdoors 

6. Designing a fountain or sculpture for a recreation area 


I. Interpretation of nature's principles 
A. Changes and growth 
1. Painting 

a. How plant-life growth or death affects the landscape (desert, 
barren land, farm land) 

b. Seasonal changes (summer, fall, winter, spring) 


c. Sky and cloud changes, showing effects of time of day on 
nature and cloud formations 
2. Discussing and painting 

a. How increases in population affect our landscape 

(1) Urban 

(2) Rural 

b. Effects of industry on nature 

(1) Factories 

(2) Strip mining 

(3) Coal mining 

c. Effects of rise and fall of population on nature 

B. Nature's varying moods: painting or abstract design 

1. How you feel on rainy days 

2. How you feel on cold days 

3. How you feel on hot days 

4. Varying winds, storms, tornadoes, and floods 

5. Sunshine after a heavy rain 

6. Shifting mists on the hills 

C. Nature's motions 

1. Photography and mobiles 

a. Effects of wind on nature 

(1) Sand and snow 

(2) The moving clouds 

(3) The swaying trees 

(4) Fields of grain 

b. Effects of water on nature 

(1) Raindrops 

(2) Waterfalls 

(3) Swift rapids 

(4) Whirlpools 

2. Sketching 

a. Galloping horse 

b. Hopping frog 

c. Flying bird 

D. Color and light 
1. Abstractions 

a. Seasons' colors 

b. Climatic effects on color and light 

Adolescent Art 321 

(1) How weather affects landscape (red hills, desert, moun- 
tains, snow coverage) 

(2) Various lights (rainbow, moon, sun, stars) 
2. Outdoor water-color and oil painting 

E. Texture and collage 

1. Photography of weather and wear 

a. Sand and water ripples 

b. Rock and pebble forms 

c. Tidal effects 

d. Snow drifts, an individual snowflake 

2. Design 

a. From sea structures (sea gardens, sea shells) 

b. Based on sea inhabitants and organisms 

c. Based on land structure (rock formation, landscapes) 

d. From dead or alive tree parts, stones, plants 

e. Based on texture qualities of soil through man's manipula- 
tion (cultivation, harvest time) 

11. Getting the most from nature 

A. Natural resources 

1. Abstract design 

a. Making a decorative piece from bark, rock, leaves, wood 

b. Making a collage of natural materials stressing variety of line, 
shape, form, texture, and color 

c. Making pottery and ceramic pieces from native clay 

d. Carving interesting shapes from local wood 

2. Studying the source of materials, providing experiences in mak- 
ing dyes, pigments, paper, tools for carving and modeling 

B. Landscape design 

1. Design 

a. Arrangement of an informal garden for your own home 

b. Color sketches that show plans for a year-round pleasing 
effect in a garden 

c. Planning, designing, and building a model of a home that 
utilizes the landscape design as a purposeful part of the living 

2. Public landscape design 

a. Designing and sketching suitable landscape arrangements for 
a public building in your community 


b. Planning and making sketches for a spacious-appearing 
city park to include activities adaptable to many interests and 
age levels 

c. Planning a design to scale for a state forest-conservation park 

III. Clothing 

A. Climate 

1. Seasons: considering your clothes according to weight of 
material, style, colors from nature 

2. Weather : studying weather-proof materials, weight of materials, 

3. Latitude: studying weight of materials, style and colors accord- 
ing to highlands or lowlands 

B. Costume design 

1. Clothes for boys and girls for changes in weather and latitude. 

2. Outfits for various sports 

IV. Geographic and climatic influences on culture 

A. Nature's way with materials 

1. Studying the effects of weather and time on various materials — 
such as iron, wood, brick, paint — to determine which age or 
weather "gracefully" and the implications of weathering for 

2. Collage: weathered materials 

3. Photography: architecture with well-weathered materials 

4. Sketching shapes in nature influenced by weather in their 
growth or through wear of the elements 

a. A weathered rock 

b. A weathered pine 

c. A rock hollowed or shaped by a stream 

d. Stalagmites and stalactites 

5. Looking at weathered textures through a microscope 

6. Design : An abstract painting using the textures of nature 

B. Art history — comparative study of cultures influenced by nature 
1. Art activities: finding photographs of art work from different 

cultures (Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese), noting the use 
of native materials, and listing common qualities 
2 Mural painting: the relationship of natural setting, culture, and 
art work in your region, characterizing the variety of terrain, 
types of vegetation, climate, weather 

Adolescent Art 323 


I. Crafts 

A. Pottery 

1. Wedging the clay 

2. Working on the potter's wheel 

3. Firing methods 

4. Glazing 

5. Tracing the history of pottery from the early beginning to con- 
temporary designs of dinnerware and showing its relationship 
to social changes 

6. Discussing relationships between material, design, and function 

a. A Greek vase 

b. Mexican pottery 

c. Italian majolica 

d. English Wedgwood 

e. Contemporary dinnerware 

7. Visiting a pottery shop in your town and noticing the different 
places where the pottery was produced 

8. Finding clay deposits in your environment 

9. Making a simple outdoor kiln 

10. From broken glazed pottery, making a mosaic — sticking the 
parts to a paper, framing it, pouring plaster or concrete over it, 
and then removing the paper 

B. Textile design 

1. Discussing and experimenting with textile printing 

a. Block printing 

b. Stencil printing 

c. Silk screen 

d. Batik 

e. Tie and dye 

2. Discussing and experimenting with weaving 

a. Hooking 

b. Needle point 

c. Gobelin 

3. Collecting and discussing textile prints in different cultures and 

4. Discussing the difference in a printed textile when flat and when 
hanging in folds 


5. Following the history of the loom from the self-made loom of 
tribal primitives to that of our modern cloth factories 

6. Relating the type of weaving, its pattern and design, to the 
culture in which it was produced — comparing a Mexican rug, 
for instance, with a Persian rug 

7. Making a simple handloom and experimenting to find different 
patterns that grow out of the process of weaving 

8. Visiting a rug store and finding out where the rugs were made 

9. Tracing the history of Gobelin and relating the technique used 
to its period 

C. Woodworking 

1. Discussing how the tool determines the shape of the object and 
the object determines the tool 

2. Showing differences of carving marks in soft and hard wood 

3. Carving 

a. A free form 

b. A spoon 

c. A wood sculpture 

4. Turning on a lathe 

a. A candle holder 

b. A lamp base 

c. A bowl 

5. Carpentry design and execution 

a. A table 

b. A toy 

c. A bench 

D. Paper working 

1. Folding the paper and cutting it 

2. Shaping paper forms and combining them 

3. Forming with papier-mache 

4. Tracing the history of paper from the early Egyptian papyrus 
to the present day 

5. Listing and experimenting with the different uses of paper (and 
related material such as cardboard and fiberboards) 

a. Making fold cuts, and folding the paper in different ways 

b. Making paper sculptures by combining the different processes 
of folding, shaping, and cutting 

c. Using different lighting effects on paper sculpture 

d. Using paper bags for masks and combining with other 

Adolescent Art 325 

processes, such as cutting, folding, or shaping 
e. Using papier-mache for making a free form, a mask, an 
animal, a strange creature 

E. Metalworking 

1. Shaping 

a. A copper bowl 

b. A wire sculpture consisting of round and flattened wire 

c. A ring with a setting for a stone 

2. Forging 

a. A metal frame for a chair 

b. A fireplace set 

c. A hot-dog fork 

3. Soldering 

a. Wire sculpturing with use of soft solder wire 

b. Jewelry making with use of hard solder 

(1) Pins on brooches 

(2) Settings on rings 

4. Selecting works of arts and crafts and finding the various proces- 
ses that were used 

a. A French gate 

b. A forged English sword 

c. An Italian Renaissance bowl 

d. Mexican jewelry 

e. Contemporary silverware 

5. Visiting metal shops 

6. Relating the process to design in various metal products of 
different periods and cultures 

F, Synthetic materials 

1. Experimenting with methods of handling (shaping, pressing, 

2. Exploring the use of different synthetic materials such as 
plastics, vinyl, rubber, Fiberglas 

3. Making a simple platter, a bowl, a sculpture 

4. Investigating the use of vinyl, rubber, asphalt, and linoleum 
tiles in building. Experimenting with floor patterns for kitchen 
or bathroom floors 

5. Listing as many objects now made of synthetic materials as you 
can think of, then discussing what they were formerly made of 

6. Making a mold as a form for plastics 


G. Relating different materials to each other 

1. Making collages of different materials 

2. Making a floor lamp using different materials 

3. Exploring various relationships of materials in furniture and 

a. Textiles and wood 

b. Stone and metal 

c. Metal and wood 

d. Wood and stone 

e. Glass and metal 

4. Tracing the combination of different materials through various 
periods and cultures 

II. Assembly-line and other industrial processes 

A. Effect on the self 

1. Discussing how the assembly line affects your standard of living 

2. Discussing how problems of production were solved in the era 
preceding the assembly-line procedure 

3. Naming advantages and disadvantages caused by assembly-line 

a. Sameness of work 

b. Quality of work 

c. Effect on individual problem solving 

d. Mass participation in inventions 

e. Prefabrication 

f. Reduced prices 

g. Equalization of standards 
h. Individual expression 

B. Effect on the community 

1. Discussing how your community has been affected by industry 

a. City planning 

(1) Mass settlements 

(2) Apartment houses 

(3) Air and water pollution 

(4) Parking and traffic problems 

b. Planning of homes 

(1) Functional furniture 

(2) Kitchen and utensils 

(3) Bathrooms 

(4) Outdoor living 

Adolescent Art 327 

c. Environmental changes caused by industrialization 

(1) Mining 

(2) Factories 

(3) Transportation facilities 

(4) Agriculture 

III. Advertising 

1. Designing an appropriate container for a specific article (per- 
fume, auto parts, ink, milk, foodstuffs, mechanical instruments) 

2. Making a model package, considering proportions, color, public 
appeal, material, novelty 

3. Designing an advertising layout for a product 

a. In a magazine 

b. For a billboard 

c. For a newspaper page 

4. Studying psychological appeal of advertisements 

IV. Consumer education 
A. Self 

1. Selecting inexpensive household utensils of good design 

2. Discussing the relationship of function, purpose, design, and 

3. Selecting from a furniture catalogue the table and chair you 
like best 

a. Comparing them with those you like least 

b. Naming at least four major differences between the "good" 
and "bad" table and chair 

4. Selecting from a book on houses the house you feel comes 
closest to your taste 

a. Why you like it, in detail 

b. Utilization of space 

c. Harmony of inside with outside 

d. Functional use of materials 

e. Use of textures 

5. Selecting and studying a painting with which you would like 
to live 

a. Reasons for appeal 

b. Agreement (or disagreement) with your environment 

6. Studying the appeal of various types of package design by show- 
ing several kinds of people different designs and recording their 


B. Home 

1. Studying the proper choice of furnishings and household equip- 
ment (iron, washer, stove, table, chairs, lamps) in relationship 
to income (the best-designed washer or easy chair for low and 
high income groups, for instance) 

2. Evaluating home furnishings according to price of product, de- 
sign quality, material, and durability 

3. From the houses of your community, selecting and discussing 
homes of good design for low and high income groups 

4. Discussing poorly designed and well-designed prefabricated 

C. Community 

1. Redesigning a poorly developed housing section of your com- 

2. Discussing the effect of advertisement on the appearance of 
your community 

a. Billboards 

b. Neon lights 

c. Advertisements on houses 

d. Window displays 

3. Selecting "good effects" on the appearance of your community 

a. Determining the characteristics of good effects 

b. Determining what you consider poor 

4. Studying means by which you could make your community 
more "art conscious" 

a. Placing good paintings or reproductions in the town library 

b. Starting a display in your library of various crafts or other 
well-designed articles 

c. Starting an adult art program 

d. Asking stores to collaborate in the display of well-designed 

V. Transportation 

A. Evolution of design 

1. Discussing the evolution of car designs 

2. Comparing the evolution of car designs with designs of other 

a. Living areas 

b. Kitchen appliances 

c. Churches 

Adolescent Art 329 

d. Schools 

e. Factories 

B. Design topics 

1. Highway patterns resulting from intersections 

2. Effective highway signs for intersections, or other warnings 

3. Studying the design of various kinds of vehicles according to 
their functions 

a. Truck designs 

(1) For lumbering 

(2) For moving 

(3) For hauling dirt 

(4) For loading and unloading 

b. Airplane designs 

(1) For passengers 

(2) For hauling loads 

(3) For various war purposes 

c. Boat and ship designs 

(1) For passengers 

(2) For carrying airplanes 

(3) For carrying freight 

(4) For various war purposes 

(5) For pleasure 

C. Painting your personal feeling when traveling 

1. In a train (the landscape swiftly passing by) 

2. In an airplane (cloud formations, patterns of various landscape 

3. In a car (highways, endless or rolling terrain, curves) 

4. In a boat (water in its different moods, reflections) 

5. At a railway terminal 

6. At a bus stop 

7. At an airport 

D. Sketching 

1. Trucking at night 

2. Impressions on the highway 

3. A marshaling yard (at night in the rain, during busy hours, 
when idle) 

E. Landscaping 

1. Planning a roadside rest area 

2. Designing landscaping for a section dividing highways 

The Meaning of Skills and Techniques in the 
Secondary School 

The development of skills is an important part of a program in art 
education for the secondary schools. It is through these skills that the 
adolescent gains confidence in his art expression. The characteristics of 
adolescent individuals must be seriously considered in motivations. Am- 
bition, persistence, self-criticism, introspection, and also a desire for ro- 
mance and adventure are traits that will best be served by an experimental 
attitude toward skills and toward the development of art techniques. It 
can be seen, then, that the crafts can assume an important role in the art 
program. It must, however, be kept in mind that a balanced program 
necessitates emphasizing the meaning of those forms of art where the 
adolescent individual can directly project his thinking, perceiving, and 

As we have discussed in the preceding chapter, the adolescent suddenly 
becomes critically aware of the immaturity of his product. He can easily 
become discouraged by the "primitiveness" and "naivete" of his drawings, 
and often seems afraid to project his thinking directly upon the paper. 
The adolescent is disturbed by the discrepancy between what he produces 
and what he feels is appropriate for an adult to draw or paint. A very 
direct approach to this problem would be to enlarge his concept of adult 
art. Certainly the fresh, and in some cases the blunt, painting of some 
contemporary artists may awaken the adolescent to new possibilities. Even 
older masters such as Chagall and Klee painted in a very unsophisticated 
manner. Another fruitful direction is to involve the student with materials 
and techniques in which the end product is not as readily comparable to 
adult products. The adolescent has now developed the ability to work 
with more intricate procedures, and in some cases these can be a real 
challenge (see Figure 88). 

Before discussing specific techniques for the secondary school, it seems 
important to refer to the distinction between procedures and techniques. 
Procedures can be explained, but techniques are highly individual and 
therefore develop according to personal desires. The relationship of an 
individual to his technique is more an outcome of his experiences in the 
world that surrounds him than a result of learned skill. If a technique 
becomes separated from individual expression, it is then only a handicraft, 
which may even restrict the individual instead of encourage him. For 
example, a haptically minded student would become discouraged with oil 

Figure 88. The student is challenged by the possibilities of a fresh 
approach to using materials, because in this way there are no set 
adult standards. 

painting if he were shown an impressionistic method of painting nature. 
The complex colors that are the results of visual analysis would only 
confuse him, whereas his thinking and experiencing might be more re- 
lated to an expression of line and subjective color relationships. Tech- 
nique and individuality are closely interwoven; therefore, techniques 
should be developed and not taught. Procedures are those steps to pre- 
pare materials, to maintain their working consistency, and to clean and 
preserve the results. 

There should be no inference here that the instructor is to hold back 
or refrain from discussing new or different methods of working with 
materials. Rather, these techniques should not be imposed upon students. 
The student who reaches an impasse, or who becomes dissatisfied with his 
means of expression, should be given encouragement, and many sugges- 
tions for possible solutions should be exchanged. Success in creative art 


does not come easily, as any practicing artist will testify. The working 
through a problem, the development of several possible solutions, the 
encouragement toward flexibility, and the final achievement of at least 
partial success will lead to a development of technique. The best technique 
is therefore developed by each individual and will permit him to express 
himself more easily and with greater depth. 

Since art education in the secondary school does not prepare for a pro- 
fession but rather serves to develop the mental, aesthetic, and creative 
growth of the individual, the teaching of skills must be focused upon the 
problem of finding adequate means of expression for the student. All 
skills, therefore, must be introduced with the purpose of fostering the 
individual's free expression. 


The putting of marks from a pencil, charcoal, or other drawing ma- 
terial onto a page of paper is a very direct and fundamental art experience. 
At one time the mechanics of drawing or sketching were considered 
essential for students to learn before the student could actually draw or 
sketch. Much time was spent practicing various types of strokes and in 
drawing boxes at various angles. Once the student had mastered these 
mechanics of "how to draw," he was expected to be able to sketch from 
nature and develop coordination of the hand and eye. However, sketch- 
ing can be a means of personal expression, since the line itself is an 
abstraction. The line can have kinesthetic origin, the feeling of motion, 
or it can be symbolic of form, an outline. Although there are many draw- 
ing instruments available, a wax crayon or marking crayon has good 
qualities for quick direct sketches. Since erasing is impossible, no atten- 
tion should be paid to making a finished, polished product. In fact, in 
expressive art every line has significance, for even unintended lines have 
expressive quality, somewhat like the quality of Fehlleistungen, which 
plays a role in psychoanalysis.^ Direct expressive sketching tends to be 
akin to handwriting in that it tells about a visual scene rather than re- 
produces it. Smooth paper is preferable to paper with a rough texture 
because the latter would divert from the smooth, gliding, one-dimensional 
character of a line. Brush and ink, brush and paint, lithographic pencil, 
conte crayon, or charcoal can also be used for sketching. 

Charcoal, because of its adaptability to changes of shading, can be easily 
used for three-dimensional sketching. The visually inclined student who 
is concerned with changes in atmosphere, light, shadow, and distance will 

Adolescent Art 333 

find that charcoal is flexible and changeable. Soft pencil, graphite sticks, 
or chalk can also be used with advantage for sketching three-dimensional 
subject matter. For these techniques coarse paper is preferable since it 
lends itself to texture and to the effect of depth and atmosphere. 


We are discussing here the contained, individual painting whether done 
on an easel or on the floor, whether small in size or as large as a wall, 
whether painted with oil paint, tempera, casein, or water color. This type 
of painting is usually not illustrative like a mural but rather is more the 
artist's direct approach to the world of his experiences. It is an intimate 
expression of emotions, ideas, or observations, both visual and nonvisual, 
of the artist's surroundings. The student's personality and the subject 
matter will determine the appropriate method of approach to achieve the 
desired expressive qualities. It is the responsibility of the teacher to recog- 
nize individual differences and guide students into the method that is 
most suitable for the attainment of their own goals (see Figure 89). As 
we discussed, some students will want models for visual inspiration; other 
students will be hampered by what they see, since they use means other 
than visual stimuli as starting points for their artistic experiences. Still 
other students will be more concerned with structure and the design 
quality of their paintings; some will be more imaginative in their thinking 
and treat a painting in a more fanciful manner. 

There is no one "correct" technique of painting. Not only does each 
student need to develop his own approach to painting, but also his method 
should vary with the subject matter and not be considered a rigid formula. 
A medium such as water color lends itself to quick, spontaneous impres- 
sions, whereas tempera paint can be used much more deliberately. In- 
deed, tempera does not lend itself to studies of nature or to atmospheric 
effects; however, it can be used very effectively in a decorative manner 
or where atmospheric effects would be distracting. Many students look 
upon oil painting as the professional painter medium, and therefore it 
has much appeal for this age. The plastic quality of oil painting is better 
suited to some students than to others, and there is no reason to impose 
this material upon all students. Paper or cardboard can be used success- 
fully with water color and tempera paint. The ground for oil paintings 
can be stretched canvas, hard-board panels, or plywood. 

The preparation of the painting surface and the care of the painting 
medium should be a part of the total painting experience for the student. 

Figure 89. Students must be encouraged to set their own 
goals and develop their own techniques. 

For the teacher to prepare in advance materials for student use tends to 
make this experience less effective as a means for continued expression 
after the student leaves school. That is, the experience of painting should 
be looked upon as a continuing interest and the student should not be 
dependent upon the teacher for preparing these basic materials. 

Painting from nature can be an exciting experience and historically in- 
cludes the bulk of artists' endeavors. Often quick sketches can be made 
of nature and these can be combined into a painting. The direct painting 
from nature is usually done in one sitting, and water color lends itself to 
this nicely. Painting with water color on a paper that has been previously 
soaked can give quite a different effect from painting on a rough, dry 

Adolescent Art 335 

surface. Different textures from smooth to very pebbly can also, change the 
results. Different brushes, from small hair brushes to bristle brushes, may 
be tried by students. It should be pointed out that the teacher is primarily 
concerned with developing enthusiasm and fostering the students' own ex- 
pression rather than trying to make everyone an "artist." 

Tempera does not lend itself very well to painting in nature because its 
contours are sharp and its colors are not "atmospheric." However, ex- 
perimentation in tempera can be tried, and its opaque color can sometimes 
be combined with water color for interesting effects. If tempera white is 
added to water colors, the technique is called gouache. Although tempera 
paint and water color are usually not mixed in one painting, there is no 
reason for not doing so, particularly if a student is impressed with the 
transparency of the air and the surface structure of a nearby object. 

In oil paint there are many approaches to the painting of nature. The 
surface may be built up with a series of thin washes, or the paint may 
be thickly applied with a palette knife. Colors can be mixed directly on 
the canvas, can be applied in an impressionistic fashion, or can be mixed 
on the palette. A teacher should have a broad understanding of the tech- 
nical possibilities and be able to adjust these to the individual desires of 
his students. 


Whereas an easel picture is an expression of emotions, ideas, or im- 
pressions, separated from its surroundings by a frame, a mural is a part 
of another whole — architecture. The size of the mural is predetermined 
by the architect. The painter has to adjust to whatever problems arise 
from the use of a wall as his painting surface (see Figure 90). The first 
problem in designing a mural, therefore, is to adjust the composition to 
the architecture for which it is planned. In some cases the shape available 
can be an interesting challenge to the student. In a good mural, architec- 
ture and mural should be closely interwoven so that one improves the 

The second problem is that the mural must be part of the wall, and of 
the architecture as a whole. The painter should not paint a "hole" in a 
wall but rather should consider the mural as a decoration not in conflict 
with its architectural meaning. Therefore, a mural cannot stress a perspec- 
tive of depth, but should distribute the composition over the whole wall 



A third problem in mural painting relates to content. Since a mural is 
painted as part of the wall, it must be adapted to the purpose of the 
structure within which it appears. For example, the subject matter of a 
mural in a dance hall would be quite different from the subject matter 
of a mural in a church, A mural is therefore much more than a picture; 
it is also a means of communication, telling a story or transmitting an idea 
or concept. 

Figure 90. This is a section of a large mural painted 
by John T. Biggers. Here the architectural features 
provided a challenge to the artist to adjust his com- 
position to take advantage of the space available to 
him. The result shows a unity of the mural with the 

A mural can either be considered a permanent part of a building or 
be thought of as being a temporary decoration. If the mural is planned 
to be of lasting character, it must first be planned in detail. Historic, social, 
religious, or scientific themes can be used very successfully for mural 
paintings, and thereby provide an excellent opportunity to integrate learn- 
ing in other fields with art. Schools usually have many walls that can be 
utilized for a mural. The cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, and of course 
the many halls — all provide potential surfaces for a mural. If proper care 

Adolescent Art 337 

is taken to insure the adhesive quality of the paint, these murals may be 
painted over at some future time if necessary. 

In contrast to the planned mural, the direct mural is applied directly to 
the surface with only rough sketches. These murals are used for special 
occasions rather than for lasting value. The surface may be the wall itself, 
a canvas secured to the wall, or large building boards. The subject for a 
direct mural is usually some special occasion, a dance, graduation, or some 
sporting event. It will be removed after the occasion is over and will be 
replaced by another. This type of mural is usually popular with the student 
body and is easily understood and appreciated. A latex-base paint can be 
used, and large brushes or rollers can cover areas quickly. 

Groups of students can work satisfactorily on the direct mural. This 
has distinct social values, particularly if every participant subordinates his 
own contribution to the whole and the spirit or theme of the mural 
predominates. This is especially true if the mural is going to be used for a 
background for a play or other production where the student can feel a 
part of a larger accomplishment. Proper organization is important so that 
all students can participate in some function. In the planned mural some 
loss of artistic unity is to be expected if the mural is painted by a group. 
Where a long hall or very large wall is to be painted, individual panels 
can be integrated into a total with rather dramatic results, 


The three-dimensional expression of emotions, thoughts, or impressions 
of nature is the essence of sculpturing. Since the representation of envi- 
ronment is of necessity excluded, many students who have little desire 
and understanding for expressing themselves in painting will find much 
release and enjoyment in the realm of three-dimensional expression. The 
more visually inclined student will be more concerned with surface ap- 
pearances and differences in sizes and proportions, whereas the student 
who is more haptically inclined will concentrate more on his subjective 
expression and kinesthetic experiences in the sculpture. We will continue 
to find some students who will build a total from many partial impres- 
sions in a synthetic technique and also some students who will achieve a 
form by cutting away unnecessary parts until the final form is reached 
through an analytic process. Most students, of course, will use both 
methods or whichever is most appropriate to the material at hand. Since 
the chief aim of teaching sculpturing in the secondary school classroom 


is to promote growth, and not to give special professional training, any 
method that is natural for the student can be used as a basis for develop- 
ing understanding and knowledge about sculpturing for expression. 

Clay is the most popular material for three-dimensional work. The 
simplest approach is to model from a solid lump of clay, with no parts 
standing out, so that an armature or wire frame is unnecessary. Clay can 
be kept in workable consistency by the use of wet rags and a plastic 
wrapping. Properly handled and prepared clay sculpturing can be fired if 
the facilities are available. However, this is often difficult to do with large 
pieces, and the danger of air bubbles and fragile parts adds to the firing 
difficulties. If it is necessary to make the clay sculpture into permanent 
form, it is often necessary to cast it into another material. 

Casting should be looked upon not as merely transferring a clay sculp- 
ture into a more permanent form but rather as an extension of the ar- 
tistic production. The rationale behind casting is quite simple; however, 
the procedure can get complicated. The material used is usually plaster, 
which is poured over the clay form and allowed to dry. This outside husk 
is then taken apart along a seam of metal shims, which were, hopefully, 
put into the clay before the plaster was poured. Once the clay is cleaned 
out of the parts of the mold, the inside is cleaned and given a coat of 
soap to seal the plaster. When put back together, the inside of the mold 
can be poured full of plaster or coated with molten metal. Once dry, the 
original mold can be chipped oflf. It is suggested that students try several 
castings to understand the process rather than be concerned with making 
a perfect reproduction of their original clay work. The final product 
should look as if it had been cast and not be an imitation of the original. 

A more direct approach to permanency in sculpture is to use plaster 
directly over a wire frame or rough screening. This approach allows the 
student to mix the plaster in small containers (the inside of half an old 
rubber ball does nicely) and to build his sculpture with a feeling for the 
quality of the material itself (see Figure 91). Sand or sawdust can be 
added to the plaster for a variety of textural quality. A combination of 
building up areas by addition and chipping or filing down areas can be 
achieved in one sculpture. It should be emphasized that the creative con- 
cept must grow out of the material from which it is created. Many subjects 
are not suitable for sculpturing. Making a sculpture of a hazy autumn day 
would be quite ridiculous, and the student should be aware of this. 

Carving in wood and cutting in stone are decisively different from 
working in clay or plaster. In a plastic material the student may choose 

Figure 91. "Man Reading." This plaster sculpture takes 
advantage of the natural qualities of the material. 

to build, up a sculpture out of partial impressions or to form it from the 
whole, whereas in carving or cutting the sculpture must be arrived at by 
the process of elimination. We can therefore expect that some students 
may have difficulty in visualizing the form within the block of stone or 
chunk of wood. 

Carving in wood and cutting in stone must grow out of the material 
itself. Different woods have different grains, different cutting qualities, 
and these differences should be utilized in the working process. It seems 
logical, therefore, that the sculpture cannot be preplanned, but the plan- 
ning process must go hand in hand with a developing knowledge of the 
material itself. Some woods lend themselves to cutting small details, 
whereas other types of wood are best for subjects utilizing rough texture. 



Woods commonly used for carving are apple, pear, chestnut, walnut, 
mahogany, and some varieties of pine. In stone cutting almost any stone 
without faults or cracks or definite grain can be used. The harder varieties 
are much more difficult to use unless a pneumatic hammer is available. 
Softer stone can be readily worked by hand tools, however, and smaller 
size sculpture can often be done in the schoolyard. Artificial stone, build- 
ing blocks, or blocks of insulation material can also be used; these ma- 
terials should not be considered as substitutes for stone but should be 
approached as having sculptural qualities of their own. 

Figure 92. This papier mache mask of an ugly hag, complete with adhesive 
bandages, resulted from an adolescent's experimentation with the ex- 
pressive possibilities of the material. 

Adolescent Art 341 

Mention should be made of masks and puppets, which can be a most 
inspiring and useful art form. These are sometimes carved from wood, 
made from clay, fashioned from fabric, or formed out of papier-mache 
(see Figure 92). Satirical self-portraits, portrayals of particular moods or 
emotions, representations of particular personality types such as the school 
athlete, a crotchety old woman, the play-boy — all lend themselves as 
subject matter for puppet making. Psychologically these have value in 
developing a greater awareness for the adolescent of himself and of those 
feelings and emotions portrayed. This is especially true if these puppets 
and masks are actually used to put on spontaneous drama. 

Masks and puppets are usually painted, because this adds to their ex- 
pressive quality. They are not intended to be natural. Sculpture itself, 
however, is rarely painted since the material that has been carved or cut 
should have its own characteristics and beauty. Painting tends to hide or 
conceal these natural qualities. When three-dimensional works are used 
for a purpose beyond themselves, such as communicating a message or 
mood in the theater or in a medieval altar group, the sculpture loses its 
meaning as an expression itself and becomes a part of another symbolic 
form. In this case the beauty of the material itself becomes subordinated 
to the literary meaning of the work of art, and paint can be added to 
further this meaning. 


The printing or graphic techniques are removed from a direct approach 
to art because the student must alter a block, plate, or stencil, which in 
turn prints the final product. Because of this intermediate step in the art 
process, students who tend to be more spontaneous in their art approach 
may not get the satisfaction from this type of art experience. Because of 
the time involved in getting to understand particular printing processes 
and the questionable value of having many examples of a particular print 
available, printing tend to be less popular in the secondary schools. In 
some instances where courses are offered in one or more of these printing 
techniques, so much time is spent in learning the technical process and 
developing the necessary mastery over the materials that little time is left 
for true artistic creation. Except for producing Christmas cards few 
people beyond the secondary school ever develop or continue an interest 
in the graphic procedures. For those students who develop an interest in 
the area of prints much work in the technical process is required beyond 
what can be offered in the public schools. However, there are simple 

possibilities such as printing with natural materials as in Figure 93 that 
can be used to broaden the student's viewpoint in the arts; in some cases 
printing can rekindle an interest in painting or sketching. 

The linoleum print can be mastered cjuite easily. It is essential that the 
student be given ample opportunity to cut lines and shapes into a linoleum 
block so as to develop an understanding of this material rather than to 
merely transfer a drawing to the linoleum. The final print or design 
should be readily recognized as a linoleum block print and not attempt 
to be a naturalistic representation (see Figure 94). In principle, wood- 


Figure. 93. Sensitivity to natural 
forms may be developed by print- 
ing with materials such as 
potatoes, onions, peppers, and 

cutting is the same as linoleum, except for the effect of the grain upon 
the print and the greater difficulty in mastering the carving and gouging 

A monoprint can sometimes be used to stimulate interest in the effect 
of a technique upon the product. Printer's ink is rolled upon a sheet of 
glass in some interesting pattern, and a sheet of absorbent paper is pressed 
or rolled over the ink. A variety of textures can be added to the ink, or 
the paper can be drawn upon while it is on the inked surface. This pro- 
cedure is one that capitalizes upon the accidental and therefore cannot be 


Figure 94. A linoleum cut by a thirteen-year-old child 
show the nature of the cutting process determining the 
desig . 

thought of as a truly expressive material. It does have value, however, 
for those students who feel restricted in their approach to art. 

The silk screen is used primarily as a two-dimensional, decorative 
printing device. As a modified form of the stencil its main function is to 
make easier the mass production of one design. Since the role of the public 
schools is not that of training employees for industry and since the textile 
designer needs specialized training, it is inappropriate to spend consider- 
able time upon the printing methods. 


Too often design is thought of as being primarily a decorative addition 
to a surface, to an object, or to some structure. We have often seen a tea- 
pot with a "cute design" placed on one side. There are many trays, pieces 
of furniture, large appliances, or even whole houses available in "colonial 
style," "modern style," "provincial style," or "Victorian style." The second- 

Adolescent Art 345 

ary school is an excellent place to begin to re-educate toward a feeling for 
design as an integral part of the function and use of an object or of a 

The word junctional, therefore, refers to three equally important rela- 
tionships: (1) the relationship between design and material, (2) the rela- 
tionship of design to tools or machinery, and (3) the relationship between 
design and purpose. For example, a piece of pottery made on a potter's 
wheel should look as if it were indeed made on the potter's wheel. How 
often we see the beautiful form of the dynamic whirling effect, which 
is a natural and functional outcome of the process of turning, spoiled by 
having the surface smoothed and "perfected" until the relationship of 
the pottery to the potter's wheel is lost. The object will perform better 
with the principles of functional design when this relationship between 
the design and the material and its tools are maintained. The more we 
hide the effects of the working methods, the more we move away from 
the truth of functional designing. The purpose of a vase may be purely 
decorative, in which case it needs to be able to stand, or be hung, or be 
heavy enough so that it will not be easily knocked over. If the purpose of 
the pot is to hold flowers, however, its glaze must not compete with the 
flowers, nor should the pot be too wide or narrow for such a purpose. 

The greater the variety of materials with which a student works, the 
wider will be his range of experiences. Whether he is working in clay, 
wood, metal, or cloth, he should be aware of the close interdependence 
of the material and the purpose for which it is intended. It is only when 
the nature of the material is thoroughly understood that plans can be 
made for this material. Therefore, many experiences are necessary to 
acquaint the student with the qualities inherent within these materials. 

The interrelationship between textures, colors, and qualities of different 
materials can be very stimulating. Scraps of wood, metal, textiles, plastics, 
and paper can be arranged in such a way that they produce an excellent 
"symphony" of textures and shapes. Actually touching and enjoying the 
variety of textural qualities can be pleasurable in itself and can also stimu- 
late the visual experience associated with the different types of textures, 
such as different grains of wood, weaves of textiles, and so forth. Such 
designs can be two- or three-dimensional, static or mobile (see Figure 95). 
Seeing how such experiments relate to interior designs can be exciting. 
The functional qualities of a material itself provide an important basis for 

It is quite apparent that few people would purchase a toothbrush with 
a Victorian handle or one with an embossed design of flowers. The bristles 

Figtire 95. Materials may relate to one another in unusual 
ways, as in this mobile where forms are visually and 
physically interdependent- 

Adolescent Art 347 

of a toothbrush are not arranged in little scalloped designs, nor do they 
attempt to look like something other than bristles. However, we often 
find tableware with roses on the handle, lamps with scallops on the shade, 
and chairs with lion's paws for legs. The average American is rather up 
to date when it comes to the matter of finding a better kind of transporta- 
tion — the newest car cannot be new enough — or a better kind of range 
or refrigerator. In his living room, however, he apparently wants to hide 
from today's world and is content with the furniture styled for his ances- 
tors, electing flowers for his living room rug and a colonial weather vane 
for his garage. The question is more than that of just introducing the 
correct type of modern furniture or contemporary homes to the public. 
Our youth must be made aware of the discrepancy between the demand 
for truth and the quest for scientific knowledge on the one hand and our 
acceptance of imitation, eighteenth-century styles and cute designs of 
flowers on the other. To a great extent this must be a first-hand learning 
experience, for there is no formula of "right" answers. 

The main characteristic of good design is a relationship between ma- 
terials, tools, and purpose. This means that the student should have a 
concept of the interrelationship between these while working on a project. 
For example, a piece of furniture should have no meaningless ornaments, 
since they do not contribute to the purpose of the furniture. On the con- 
trary, as dust-collectors they would only be detrimental to living comfort. 
The design itself grows out of the beauty of the different materials used. 
The natural qualities of the materials should be utilized and preserved 
as much as possible. Wood, glass, textile, metal, should each be used in 
its own right. Simplicity in line is an important principle of modern 
functional furniture, with variation introduced by the use of different ma- 
terials. Fine workmanship is an integral part of the design itself, and 
joints and braces need not be hidden under a decorative cover. 

Many people within our society walk around blind to much of the 
natural beauty within our environment. This area should not be ignored. 
Focusing attention upon producing art only will sadly neglect the tre- 
mendous impact and pleasure that can be derived from a sensitive aware- 
ness of the beauty in nature. In the next chapter we will focus upon 
aesthetics, but it is important to emphasize that materials and textures, a 
batch of grass seed (see Figure 96) or a large panorama, a fish net (see 
Figure 97) or the cast of shadow, can contain the essence of beauty for 
those who are sensitive to it. 

Much of the art that is done bv individuals after leaving the secondary 

Figures 96 (left) and 97 (right). It is important for the student to develop a sensi- 
tivity to the beauty that occurs in his surroundings. Commonplace things such as 
grass seed and fish nets may be aesthetically satisfying. 



schools is of practical value, such as furniture making, rug weaving, 
pottery making, or even furniture repair and refinishing. Considerable 
time within the framework of the curriculum should be set aside to make 
this area meaningful for the potential home craftsman. It is obvious that 
much misdirected time and cfTort is presently channeled into nonworth- 
while activities by the "easy-to-make, just-follow-the-pattern" type of 
project. People need to have control over, and identify with, a project of 
their own choosing. From the first conception of the idea, through the 
problem solving and technical mastery, to the final very personal result — 
this entire process must be grasped by the individual. Thus, any such crea- 
tive activity should be an honest representation of its creator and of the 
material and be designed for its true purpose or function. Art education 
is ideally suited to maintain this self-identification with the whole span 
of production, usually unattainable to any one person in our modern 
technically oriented age. 

Related Activities 

1. Survey the art classes in a local high school to determine who actually 
takes elective art courses. What major sequence of courses are these students 
following? How do their academic abilities relate to the total high school 
population? What are the vocational interests of these youngsters? 

2. List the materials presently being used by students in a junior or senior 
high school. What type of use is made of these? Which of these art ma- 
terials are used by adults who enjoy and actively engage in art, other than 
professional artists? On what basis can the use of the rest of the art materials 
be justified? 

3. What are some of the characteristics of adolescent art? How do these differ 
from child art and from the art of professionals? 

4. List a range of three-dimensional materials suitable for sculpturing. Which 
of these materials need to be chipped or filed away to make a sculpture? 
Which need to be built up to make a form? Which materials can be used 
in both ways? 

5. Compile a list of occupations that could be considered under the heading 
"Artists." What are the specific differences between these occupations? 
What are some of the skills or training necessary for each of these occupa- 
tions? What are some of the common backgrounds needed for all fields? 

6. Observe an adolescent group outside school. Record the way in which these 
youngsters express themselves, both verbally and socially. Pay close atten- 
tion to dress, hair styles, cars, verbal expressions. How much of this ex- 

Adolescent Art 351 

pression is controlled through pressure to conform to group standards? 
How do you see this expression relating to the school art program? 


1. For further discussion of this point see W. Lamhert Brittain, "Creative 

Art," Curriculum Planning for the Gifted, ed. L. A. Fliegler (Englewood 
Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961), p. 294. 

2. Robert Hess and Irene Goldblatt, "The Status of Adolescents in American 

Society: A Prohk-m in Social Identity," Readings in Child and Adolescent 
Psychology, ed. L. D. and A. Crow (New York: Longmans, Green & 
Co., Inc., 1961), p. 178. 

3. Luella Cole, Psychology of Adolescence (New York: Holt, Rinehart & 

Winston, Inc., 1950). 

4. According to Sigmund Freud, Fehlleistungen are unintentional actions re- 

vealing the individual's subconscious reactions. Misspellings often belong 
to this category. 


The Meaning of 
Aesthetic Criteria 

Aesthetic criteria cannot be separated from creative development as a 
whole. They develop according to the specific need of the individual and 
should not be taught but must grow out of the individual work of the 
student. They are closely bound up with personality. If these criteria are 
taught academically— as a subject matter in itself, detached from the work 
— they become dead knowledge, which will inhibit rather than help an 
intuitive urge. Thus, the rigid teaching of composition may be more harm- 
ful than useful when freedom of expression is more important than learn- 
ing rigid rules. If, however, composition grows out of individual needs, 
if it becomes a means of helping the student to express what is in his 
mind, it will be an important tool, more so for the teacher than for the 
student. It is not the student but the teacher who must learn the meaning 
of composition, and understand it, in order to guide the student. In this 


The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 353 

way certain qualities or needs of expression or aesthetics can be achieved 
with the least effort and discouragement. We shall discuss those problems 
of aesthetic criteria a teacher should know for guiding his pupils. Although 
composition unifies all elements of expression into a whole, we shall not 
be able to understand and analyze this unification without knowing the 
meaning of the single elements. The meaning of line, space, color, and 
their different relationships to one another becomes important. 

The Elements of Expression in Picture Making 

Growth is on an ever changing continuum and we find that this is also 
true in the area of aesthetics.^ Aesthetic growth appears to be the com- 
ponent of growth responsible for the changes from a chaos on the lower 
end of the continuum to the most complete harmonious organization on 
the upper end. This striving for higher forms of organization does not 
necessarily refer to the elements of art; it may also refer to a more intense 
and greater integration of thinking, feeling, and perceiving and thus be 
responsible for our greater sensibilities in life. Indeed, one of the distinc- 
tions between the basic philosophies in art education and those in the fine 
arts may be a difference in emphasis on harmonious organizations. Art 
education primarily deals with the effect that art processes have on the 
individual, whereas the so-called fine arts are more concerned with the 
resulting products. It is then quite logical to say that art education is more 
interested in the effect of a greater and more integrated harmonious 
organization of the elements of art on the individual and his develop- 
ment, whereas aesthetic growth in the fine arts generally refers to the 
harmonious organization of the elements of art themselves. 

Herbert Read calls aesthetic education "the education of those senses 
upon which consciousness and ultimately the intelligence and judgment 
of the human individual are based. It is only in so far as these senses are 
brought into harmonious and habitual relationship with the external world 
that an integrated personality is built up."" Thus, Read refers in his 
statement to the effect that aesthetic growth has on the individual rather 
than to the aesthetic product he produces. Although we are lacking 
basic research in this area, there seems to be a strong indication of an 
intimate relationship between the two. Thus, aesthetic growth appears to 
be essential for any well-organized thinking, feeling, and perceiving, and 
the expression of these. Depending on the medium used, we then deal 


with the diflferent art forms as expressions of this organization, such as 
words, spaces, tones, Unes, shapes, colors, movements, or any mixture of 
these. Aesthetic organization does not start at any arbitrary hne. It may 
start at any level, conscious or subconscious, and anywhere, in life, in 
play, in art. That is why our whole personality is affected by aesthetic 
growth. Wherever organization is lacking, the mind disintegrates. Aes- 
thetic growth, therefore, not only affects the single individual but also, 
under certain circumstances, a whole society. Aesthetic growth is organic 
with no external set of standards; it may differ in its expression as well 
as in its meaning from individual to individual and from culture to cul- 
ture. "One must strictly refrain from forming a fixed code of laws to 
which one can submit artistic phenomena from the beginning on."^ It 
is this that distinguishes it from any arbitrarily set organization. Also in 
art expression, aesthetic criteria are intrinsic to the individual work. It 
may therefore be said that a creative work is governed by its own intrinsic 
aesthetic principles. If we were to attempt to regiment harmonious rela- 
tionship and organization, we would arrive at dogmatic laws. This has 
important implications for aesthetic growth in art education. It implies 
that all set rules rigidly applied to any creative expression are detrimental 
to aesthetic growth. Yet in most of our schools, on all levels, such matters 
as proportions, balance, and rhythm are still regarded as separate extrinsic 
entities with no relationships to the intrinsic qualities of the individual 
aesthetic product or to the intentions of the creator and his developed 
sensibilities. Proportions, when "corrected" on the basis of external, most 
often visual attributes, may be in complete disharmony with the aesthetic 
entity of a creative product and the innermost expression of the creator. 
Rhythm, according to generally applied "principles," may be in utter dis- 
cord with the harmonious integration of an individual's desire for ex- 

How then can aesthetic growth be fostered in today's art education, if 
there is no apparent set of rules that can readily be applied to any indi- 
vidual? The most decisive aesthetic education does not take place merely 
by the criticism or guidance an individual receives for his aesthetic 
product. It is much more a total task of education, in which the indi- 
vidual's sensitivity toward perceptual, intellectual, and emotional experi- 
ences is deepened and integrated into a harmoniously organized whole 
so that his "senses are brought into harmonious and habitual relationship 
with the external world." However, in this educational process art can 
play a major role, inasmuch as no art expression is possible without a 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 355 

heightened sensibiUty toward the external world and the ability to bring 
our inward senses in harmonious relationship to it. 


If we drew a line, it would be a creation — very primitive, but a creation 
nevertheless — because this line would express something related to our 
feelings or ideas. The line might be bold, black, and direct, starting and 
stopping at definite points and thus showing decision of character. The 
line might be timid, dainty, wavering, indefinite, as a child just starting 
to take his first steps, not knowing where he will end. Or the line might 
be dreamy, as it seems to us when we are suddenly at a place without 
knowing how we reached it; or the line might be sketchy, consisting 
of many parts, whose synthesis finally might approach the mental image 
it followed step by step. It might be an intellectual line, well thought 
over and carefully controlled. It might be a calm line, in which everything 
is quietly and carefully but determinedly drawn, like the uniform waves 
of the calm sea; or it might be an excited line, in which no motions can 
be predicted, ever changing as our emotions change when we live through 
great excitements; or a jelt line drawn unconsciously, intuitively follow- 
ing an emotional drive; or we might have drawn the line with a utilitarian 
purpose in mind, perhaps to separate two areas, as an architect who wants 
to indicate that this space has to be divided. Or did we have in our mind 
a symbolic sign like the "minus," thinking only of its function or mean- 
ing, which through repetition has received general validity .f" Or were we 
aware of its quality as it flowed from our pencil as we can see it in the 
signatures of vain persons, who play with the line like a lady who can 
never handle her powder puff elegantly enough when she feels conscious 
of being observed? Or is it an interrupted line, drawn in two or many 
continuations, showing thoughts that are not spoken out, as in letters in 
which we like to express continuations of thoughts by merely adding a 
few interrupted lines? Or is the thought so important that we have to 
underline it; or did we draw entirely mechanically, as we doodle while 
waiting at the telephone for an important call; or did we want to empha- 
size rhythm by placing one line parallel to another, weighing carefully 
the different widths of the lines, as we do when designing; or were we 
finally unsatisfied with the whole approach and did we cross it with two 
bold strokes indicating that it no longer exists? 

These are only some of the distinctions of lines that will lead to a better 
understanding of the individual and his work; however, we would not 


do justice to the meaning of the Hne within a composition without dis- 
cussing the different relationships of lines to one another. Such a dis- 
cussion of merely the meaning of the line itself without its relationship 
to environment would be like a life story that is concerned only with the 
facts dealing directly with the person and not with the interdependent 
causal connections that determine the life of an individual: "Up to this 
date Miss X was a student at this college. She could not continue her 
studies." That really is like an interrupted line. But why is it interrupted? 
Was she compelled to interrupt her studies, or did she do it voluntarily? 
Will it be merely an interruption or won't she come back at all? What 
tragedy sometime lies behind such simple words as "She could not continue 
her studies." Lack of money, illness, death, or whatever the reason — we 
never would be satisfied with a life story that only mentions the facts. 
The circumstances under which she interrupted her studies will make the 
facts interesting and dramatic to us. In the same way that we would like 
to see the accompanying lines in her life, we also would like to see the 
circumstances under which lines are interrupted, or in general, the rela- 
tionships of lines to one another. 

Two indefinite lines that finally meet at a definite point after long and 
many interruptions are like two friends who, after long-interrupted con- 
tact, meet again. If, however, these two lines are definite, starting at a 
definite point, steering consciously toward the meeting point from the 
very beginning, their meaning is quite different. It is the same as if two 
persons reach for something they already have in mind. The more this 
something is removed ^om their reach, the more inaccessible it becomes. 
It is the same with the two converging lines of a Gothic arch, whose 
meaning has gone into the realm of inapproachable religious faith. People 
and ideas can meet under diverse circumstances; so can lines. The line 
becomes a living symbol, and as soon as we have reached this point, we 
need no longer ponder over this symbol's meaning, because we can 
draw our experiences and relationships directly from life. 

We know from the very beginning of creative activity, from scribbling, 
what repetition can mean. In scribbling, repetition meant a greater con- 
sciousness. But we know from life how different the meaning of repetition 
can be, depending upon the circumstances under which something is re- 
peated. If a bold line is repeated by a dainty sketchy line, it might mean 
mere imitation, like one who tries to imitate the original but is not quite 
sure of himself. However, repetition that is done over and over with the 
same degree of certainty might have the same effect as the uniform 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 357 

ticking of a clock, which creates a monotonous rhythm that is noticed only 
when the clock stops or when the rhythm changes. Thus it might mean 
equality or pure rhythm, depending upon the circumstances under which 
the lines repeat themselves. 

If a person loses something valuable to him and asks someone to help 
him search for it, both would do the same thing — both would search for 
the lost article. The emotions, however, with which both are participat- 
ing are of different intensity, since the lost object belongs to one. Thus, 
parallel lines would not do justice to such an expression. Both people 
search differently. How different it would be if the emotional factor were 
cut out, as with the workers in a field who harvest potatoes or beans all day 
long! Here, the parallel lines would get their real meaning: of an everlast- 
ing repetition. If we were to interrupt these parallel bent motions by up- 
right figures, these interruptions would then introduce a pause, as in 
Millet's famous picture "The Gleaners." The more upright the line (or the 
figures), the more definite is the interruption. 

If, however, we deal with parallel lines that are in perpendicular re- 
lationship to a base line, the meaning of the parallel lines changes again. 
The perpendicular line, the most absolute line, which is neither influenced 
from the left nor from the right, expresses the same stability that a flag- 
pole expresses as the bearer of the symbol of the country. If those lines of 
stability are repeated at equal intervals, they will have the same mean- 
ing as soldiers, in whom equality and stability are unified. If, however, 
one line stands out from this uniformity, it immediately catches our at- 
tention like one civilian in the midst of a row of soldiers. The circum- 
stances under which this line stands out determine its meaning. It 
might be an odd line with a little slant, as a felled tree in the midst of a 
forest of skyward-growing trees has lost its stability; or it might stand 
out in height, overlooking all other lines like the officer on horseback. We 
might, however, just as well raise the base line in a convex curve, as a hill 
overlooking the valley, or we might introduce a protecting line, a concave 
line like a protecting hole. 

If the relationship of lines is well balanced, if one line takes care of the 
other, as in a building in which all stones hold together, we speak of 
static lines. If, however one stone is removed, all other stones start moving. 
We then speak of dynamic lines, lines that are no longer balanced but 
moving. Lines might be open, receiving, like our arms when we meet 
again after a long separation. But just as we might not be quite sure 
whether the person we are about to greet is indeed the long-unseen friend. 



since he has changed during his absence, so will the circumstances deter- 
mine the meaning under which the open lines are drawn. Or lines might 
be closed. This could mean protection as well as prison, depending on the 
kinds of lines expressing the meaning of closing. If they are bold, rough, 
and determined like bars of a cell, we surely associate them with prison; 
if they are round, carefully surrounding the hole, they will be protecting. 
If, however, one line breaks through such a protecting line, like the arm 
of Michelangelo's Adam, which reaches out from the earth to communi- 
cate with God, the circumstances under which the line breaks through will 
determine its meaning. 

In this connection the different height of the horizon in a picture might 
receive its real significance. A high horizon that because of its height will 
not be interrupted serves as a protection, whereas a low horizon makes 
the landscape stand out and, with the frequently interrupted horizontal 
Ime, introduces a more unquiet and restless atmosphere. A high horizon 
may include all people living in this space as a protecting line. A low 
horizon, however, exposes man to the elements. 

Although this discussion on the meaning of the line and its relation- 
ships is by no means exhaustive, it has shown the close interdependence of 
line and experience and has thus demonstrated that the line, as a vital 
element, can be understood only as part of expression.'* 


Space can generally have four meanings: (1) in its unlimited quality, 
(2) within a restricted boundary, (3) in relationship to other spaces, and 
(4) in subjective relationship to ourselves. 

The unlimited space cannot be conceived in its totality. Its infinity, the 
universe, is incomprehensible. Space becomes accessible to our senses only 
when we circumscribe it or when we assign to it a definite meaning. As 
long as we think of the inaccessible space of the universe, space remains 
incomprehensible. As soon as we think in terms of sky, we relate the sky 
to a definite atmosphere or mood; we have assigned to space a definite 
meaning, and as such it becomes accessible to our senses, especially to our 
optical sense. If we think of restricted space, like the space in a room, it 
becomes accessible not only to our eyes but also to our kinesthesis or acous- 
tic reactions. This space can be measured and therefore objectively deter- 
mined in its sizes. The quality of this space, however, depends upon our 
subjective relationship to it. Objective space is space perceived optically. 
Its pictorial representation is governed by the laws of perspective. Its 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 359 

clearest depiction is produced by the photographic camera. Subjective space 
is the space in which we include the self. In it, therefore, we find a pre- 
dominance of subjective interpretations or judgments of value. They 
can refer to sizes and their subjective values, or they can refer to the quali- 
ties of spaces as expressed through different emphases on light and shadow 
and color.^ 

A simple story will illustrate the meaning of these subjective rela- 
tionships and their interpretation in art. You and your friend are standing 
in front of a door not knowing what or whom you will meet when the 
door is opened. Your present relationship to the space inside the door is 
therefore undetermined. The only thing you know is that you and your 
friend will soon enter a room. In art we would say that a definite space 
experience is contrasted to an indefinite one, thus creating the same tension 
and interest that you feel now as you are waiting in front of the door. 
The door opens. You enter a small, low room. This room is bare and 
empty. You look around and find nothing but two additional doors. 
Your friend goes through one, you through the other. You enter a very 
small room, almost the size of a closet; your friend, however, enters a 
spacious hall. Both of you are compelled to stay in your rooms. After 
some time you come back into the room from which you entered. 
Your impressions are different. You find this small room very large; your 
friend, accustomed to his spacious hall, finds it smaller than before. 
Your subjective relationship to the size of the room has changed. Through 
the inclusion of the self the relations to the sizes of the different spaces have 
become subjective. 

In art these subjective interpretations of value relationships in space are 
of prime significance. Not only does the significance, which is assigned 
to the self, change in relation to environment, but the spaces also change in 
the emotional significance they have to us. 

Before discussing this experience of spatial relationships with regard 
to sizes in its pictorial representations, let us continue the story about the 
rooms, adding to the subjective relationships of sizes the relationships of 

Again you and your friend are standing in front of the first door. 
The difference in your impressions is that you both now have different 
but definite feelings of what will meet you when the door opens. Having 
lived in the closet for such a long time, you will have in your mind a 
comfortable-sized room, whereas your friend, having lived in the spacious 
hall, will remember this room as small. The door opens, and you are both 


surprised when you discover a comfortably furnished room. Again you 
don't stay here, but each of you enters your well-known room. Again 
you are greatly surprised to find your very small room as beautiful as you 
could imagine a room to be. It has changed to a perfectly decorated room, 
and at once you feel quite at home. Every glance reveals something new, 
gives more satisfaction of well-spaced and perfectly furnished environ- 
ment. Your friend, in the meanwhile, has entered his room. The big hall 
has not changed except that it now appears barer and grayer than before. 
The walls have become dirtier, the atmosphere more gloomy. He feels 
quite lost in this big hall and anxiously awaits the time when he will be al- 
lowed to leave. How different are your impressions when you both return 
to the middle room. To you, coming from your most perfectly decorated 
room, the middle room, though larger than yours, will appear quite com- 
mon, neither attractive nor distinctive in any respect. How different is 
the reaction of your friend. He will be delighted with everything in this 
room; everything will appear wonderful to him. Though he comes from 
his big hall, the middle room now seems to him better than anything he 
could imagine. 

We conclude from these two stories that big space may mean much space 
and freedom as well as being lost and restricted (in one's comfort). Small 
space, however, may mean restriction of space and freedom as well as 
greatest satisfaction in being in a world of one's own. These problems 
could be further complicated by the addition of the problem of different 
personalities and their emotional reactions. The latter is the problem of 
Beethoven, who wrote, "I hate the world at large, with its grimaces; how 
well I feel in my four walls," as well as the problem of a little dancer who 
sits at home weeping because she cannot find the way to the world at 

How are the subjective relationships expressed in art? To be more spe- 
cific, these compositional elements will be analyzed by means of three pic- 
tures representing the same subject in different space relationships. The 
topic is the same, "A Wood Chopper," and we shall see how his spatial 
relationships determine not only the meaning of the pictures but also 
change his character and emotional relationships. 

The problem is the same as with the rooms. Like the entrance room in 
the former story, here the wood cutter remains in fact unchanged. What 
does change is his relationship to the surrounding spaces. Figure 9Sa 
shows the relationship between sky and earth; in Figure 9Sb the immedi- 
ate space in which he lives becomes characterized by a higher horizon; 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 361 

Figure 98. "Wood Chopper. 

and in figure 98c the space around him becomes restricted. If we investi- 
gate these changes, we shall find phenomena closely parallel to the prob- 
lems developed in the story of the rooms. Vast space, as expressed in 
Figure 98fl, means here unrestricted freedom. The space surrounding the 
woodcutter is almost unrestricted. In this space, in which he is uplifted by 
the convex line of the hill (see discussion on line), he stands out as a sym- 
bol of power, a master over nature, cutting wood, chopping trees at his 
own will. No one interferes with him. How different is the effect of 
Figure 98*^, where he is no longer surrounded by free air in free space. 
Through the raised horizon he has become a part of the earth, of his earth, 
characterized by stumps of trees and lumber. It is his earthly life that 
surrounds him. In Figure 98a we were able to forget that woodcutting 
is a job with which to earn one's living, but in Figure 98^ we definitely 
are not only reminded of that but become aware of what it means to cut 
wood all day long. The self is struggling with its environment. No one is 
victorious, and the only thing standing out above the horizon is the axe, a 
reminder that in it lies power and that with it the man earns his living. 
The subjective relationship of the wood chopper to the space that sur- 
rounds him has changed. It has narrowed his field of vision and has 
brought him down to his daily occupation. How this relationship has 
changed in Figure 98c! Now even the horizon has disappeared. The trees 
stand like the bars of a prison. The man has become the victim of his occu- 
pation, perhaps of society, a prisoner of the trees, which seem to take 
away from him air and freedom. How small he appears now, how beaten 
down by his environment, especially if compared with Figure %a. 

However, as we have learned from the story about the different rooms 
and their relationships, much space not only means freedom but may also 


mean the feeling of being lost, whereas restricted space may mean the 
greatest satisfaction of being in the world of one's own. These relative 
value judgments in art are of great significance. They help in understand- 
ing the works of art and provide the teacher with the proper perspective 
for understanding art products of children. How often we see a student 
struggle for a definite expression, without even being aware of the prob- 
lems involved. Being aware of such psychological principles in the use of 
the elements of composition will help the teacher guide his students in 
their struggles. This different expression of much space with the feeling 
of being lost, or of restricted space with the feeling of happiness in one's 
own world, is demonstrated by means of the following three illustrations. 
Again the central figure remains unchanged. The topic is "Coming 



— ^ 







t/ V 



Figure 99. "Coming Home." 

Figure 99a, which corresponds to Figure 98fl, shows the person standing 
out from the horizon and exposed to storm in vastness of space. But here, 
unlike Figure 98fl, where standing out meant power, the same spatial re- 
lationship means loneliness, the feeling of being lost in the vastness of 
almost unrestricted space. In Figure 99b the horizon is moved up as in 
Figure 98^, and characterizes more the immediate space of action. But 
unlike Figure 98^, where it meant more restriction, it now has the signifi- 
cance of greater protection. The man can no longer feel as lonely and lost 
as in Figure 99a, for he is surrounded by protecting elements. This feel- 
ing of security is increased in Figure 99c, "Coming home," where the 
space is completely restricted. It is not the restriction of a prison as it was 
in Figure 98f, it is now complete protection, which creates the feeling 
of happiness. 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 363 

How can the same space relations create such diverse impressions? It 
is exactly as in the story of the rooms. Here also all depends on the cir- 
cumstances under which these space relationships occur. If we compare 
Figure 99c- with Figure %c, we will immediately recognize that in Figure 
98c restriction in space is expressed by lines that are determined — 
determined and bold because they start and stop at definite points, going 
over the whole length of the picture, as the trees do. They are dynamic 
and exciting lines because we cannot predict where they will start, where 
they have their base. This gives us the feeling that even trees might come 
closer and closer, thus expressing unlimited restriction. How different are 
the lines used in Figure 99c where restricted space obviously expresses the 
feeling of protection. Here we have the restricted space expressed by 
utilitarian static lines, symbolizing the boundaries of the room, by lines 
that are not in contrast to the central figure (as the trees are contrasted to 
the wood cutter) but that unite with him. They find in him their continua- 
tion, as it can be so well seen in the arms of the boy and the motion of the 
woman. All lines either unite or protect. 

The very same difference in the use of lines holds true. Whereas in 
Figure 99*^ the lines are all curved around the central figure as if to 
frame him, almost like a protective umbrella, in Figure %b the lines are 
all opposing the central figure, stinging against him, as it were, pointing 
swords toward him irregularly. 

From this discussion it becomes clear that the means of expression deter- 
mine the particular meaning of spatial relationships. 


Throughout the history of art the meaning of light and shadow has 
gone through the most interesting and diverse phases. If one were to write 
a history of art, based only upon the changes in the meaning of light and 
shadow during the difTerent epochs and cultures, he might produce one 
of the most dramatically written histories of art. The use of light and 
shadow in art in its different meanings and qualities not only indicates 
a different creative concept but allows us, as we shall see, to draw conclu- 
sions concerning different attitudes toward life and their psychological 
implications. A period that has not yet discovered the existence of light 
and shadow must be quite different from one in which light and shadow 
are accurately used according to our visual percept. How different must be 
a period that not only uses light and shadow but accentuates them by 
exaggerating light and deepening shadows. How different from such an 


epoch must be a period in which Hght and shadow are used as effects, 
as illuminations, dramatically, as on a stage. And again how different must 
be a time in which light is used only as a source of light, in utilitarian 
meaning, as it were, to turn on the light in a dark room only for the 
purpose of better visibility. And how different must be a period in which 
light and shadow are used independently from naturalistic laws, through 
their own forces, governed only by intuitive means, thus creating a mys- 
terious atmosphere. Or we see an epoch, perhaps on the opposite end of 
the scale, that is not only satisfied with the visual recognition of light and 
shadow but analyzes the way the impressions of light and shadow reach 
our eyes. Again, how contrasted is the experience with lights and darks if 
we exclude external visual impressions and emphasize the expressive quali- 
ties of the warmth of light, or the frightening attributes of lightning or 
the emptiness and loneliness of darkness; and how different is a period 
that deals with light and dark only in their qualities as design, that is, the 
proper distribution of both values. 

Of course, we have shown here only a few meanings of light and 
shadow; many more may be found, especially when we consider that rarely 
does one of these attributes appear independently. The more complex mix- 
tures of different attitudes toward light and shadow give a deep insight 
into the struggle for the predominance of certain experiences. In order to 
get such a deeper insight into the nature of the meaning of light and 
shadow (or, better, lights and darks), we shall discuss the psychological 
origin of these different concepts. Such a discussion is important for the 
understanding and appreciation of the works of art of different cultures 
and epochs and also for the proper motivation and understanding of 
students who want to express something definite by means of light and 
shadow but, unaware of their real significance, use lights and darks in a 
conventional way. A teacher who knows these most diverse origins of the 
experiences with lights and darks will be able to direct the students' 
thinking into adequate channels and avoid discouragements, which always 
result from a discrepancy between the mental image and its actual repre- 

If we perceive an object without using our eyes, the impression we re- 
ceive from this object is not connected with lights and shadows. If we 
try to perceive a head by touch only and glide our hand along the pro- 
file, our impression consists of the contour, of a line along which we move 
our fingers. Indeed, we speak in psychology of the touch line, meaning the 
main line of touch impressions that characterize the object. This line has a 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 365 

kinesthetic origin, the meaning of moving along the outUne. Only the 
line can have this meaning. Consequently, we should find in all nonvisual 
or haptic epochs of art an emphasis on the line as a means of representa- 
tion. In other words, an artist who is more concerned with the subjective 
experiences, the haptic artist, will predominantly use the line as a means 
of expression and not the visual experience of light and shadow. Lights 
and shadows in their real meaning are expressions of the three-dimensional 
qualities of space. The line as a boundary can become a symbol of the 
thing itself. The three-dimensional qualities become meaningless in com- 
parison to the essential meaning of the object (see Figure 100). These 
essential qualities are neither connected with the surface nor with the 
substance of the thing. Therefore, neither light nor shadow will be able to 
signify them. The line, itself of abstract quality (we do not see lines in 
nature), will be the best representative for these spiritual values. 

Figure 100. A Byzantine mural emphasizes un- 

naturalistic meaning of the line. 

Therefore, it can be easily understood that in those periods of art in 
which the spiritual forces diminish, the meaning of the substance and 
surface increases. It is possible, however, that the meaning of substance is 


SO subordinate that light and shadow indicate only the three-dimensional 
quality of the thing and nothing else. Light and shadow merely charac- 
terize the representations. In such works of art light and shadow are 
confined to objects of expressive importance. The visual experience, which 
always needs a source of light, is subordinate. Therefore, all works of art 
in which either expression or the mere abstract characterization of form 
and substance predominate show light and shadow only as a means of 
emphasizing the meaningful parts. 

If a visual experience is reported, light and shadow go beyond specific 
objects and include environment as well. These naturalistic representations 
(reports on nature) use light and shadow to characterize nature itself 
without accentuating the subjective relationship to it. The more the de- 
sire grows to give an exact report, the more light and shadow obey laws 
related to perspective. These tendencies are best seen in creative works of 
individuals who emphasize naturalistic or utilitarian relationship to the 
object. If the experience of light and shadow becomes a dominant ex- 
perience, if the three-dimensional quality of form becomes the main 
discovery in a work of art, light and shadow appear exaggerated. This 
can often be seen in drawings of youths or in periods of art in which the 
discovery of light and shadow has the quality of a first experience. Such 
a discovery often leads to the need to find and indicate the source of 
light. In such works of art the relationship of light and shadow is shown, 
and also the source from which the light comes (see Figure 101). Paint- 
ings of interiors often deal with the discovery of a special meaning of light. 

Epochs and cultures that are dynamic and not content with the mere 
visual experiences use light and shadow to give expression to this dramatic 
quality. In such cultures the work of art is more like a gigantic stage de- 
sign. Neither life nor atmosphere is real. Both appear in the dramatic 
illuminations of baroque art in which the fight of earthly with spiritual 
qualities is deeply symbolized by the specific use of light. When light and 
shadow lose the quality of dramatic interpretations as well as of naturalis- 
tic representations, they no longer obey the laws of nature. The artist 
himself then freely determines lights and shadows. He creates his own 
laws, which are governed only by the relationship of his intuitive forces 
to the world outside. The atmosphere created by these forces is necessarily 
magically mystic. The best representative is Rembrandt in his latest works. 
His greatest strength, and his most precious gift to mankind, is his light 
vibrating in the darkness and his power of dealing with lights and darks 
in unlimited and absolute freedom (see Figure 102). 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 367 

Figure 101. "Entombment of Christ," after a painting by 
Caravaggio, Vatican, Rome. Light and shadow are ex- 
aggerated. (Courtesy of Bettmann Archive). 


Figure 102. In a painting by Rembrandt, lights have a mystical quality. 

The antipode to this mysterious way of directing lights and shadows in- 
tuitively is an art that not only prefers the bright daylight in which noth- 
ing can be hidden but tries to analyze these daylight impressions as to 
quality of light, shadows, and color (see Figure 103). Here visual ex- 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 369 

periences are emphasized, and attention is focused upon the variety of 
surface appearances and upon atmospheric quaUties. Impressionistic art is 
visual art in its extreme meaning. Light, shadow, and color are no longer 
means to an end but ends themselves. The evaluation of lights and darks 
obeys only the rules of visual perception. 

Opposed to impressionistic art we shall find those creations that use 
lights and darks no longer in connection with visually perceivable ap- 
pearances. This type of art in which light sometimes is an expression of 
happiness, another time has a mere symbolic meaning, is purely expressive. 
It places light and dark in value relationship to each other, using them 
emotionally, expressively, and symbolically. In this art lights and shadows 
are not governed by rules nor do they obey any external laws (see Figures 
104 and 105). 

How different is the significance of lights and darks when we finally 
look at the art in which they seemingly have the purest meaning. In design 

Figure 103. "Haystack and Sheep," after a painting by C. Pissarro. 
Light and shadow express atmosphere, surface appearance, and distance. 
(Courtesy of Bettmann Archive) 



Figure 104. In this painting by Picasso, lights and darks are used ex- 
pressively, with an effect entirely different from that of a visual im- 
pression. (Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift 
of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim) 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 371 

Figure 105. In a painting by Roualt, lights and darks 
are emotionally determined. (Collection, The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York) 



light and dark are not connected with any subject matter, but rather their 
significance lies in their proper distribution." 

From this discussion it follows that lights and darks must be treated 
differently according to special meaning. It would be entirely wrong to 
motivate an individual who intends to express his inner feelings through 
the use of lights and darks by means of visual methods referring to the 
visual appearance of lights and shadows. It would be just as wrong to 
motivate an individual who is mainly interested in the impressionistic 
qualities of lights and shadows by referring to his emotional responses. 
It is important that we know the different meanings of light and shadow 
as elements of a composition, so as to understand their value as creative 


Color, as an element of composition, is a means of artistic expression. 
Only our subjective relationship to color, the meaning color has to the 
creator, will be discussed within this section. Thus, we exclude the science 
of color, which is just as remote from our discussion as the teaching of 
"correct proportions" as seen in the "golden mean" (a geometric progres- 
sion of 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 . . . considered perfect proportion by the ancient 
Egyptians and Greeks^). 

Color can have as many meanings as line, space, or lights and darks. 
The simplest is mere characterization. Color merely characterizes the 
object: the grass is green, the sky is blue, the bark of a tree is brown, the 
foliage is green, and so forth. An artist who uses color merely to character- 
ize objects must put his creative emphasis elsewhere because he must be 
more concerned with other means of expression than with color. Color has 
for this artist a subordinate meaning. It has descriptive meaning, which 
finds its parallel in the early stages of speech development. The main aim 
of this descriptive meaning is the establishment of a relationship between 
color and object, or in speech, between word and meaning. The origin 
of this relationship in art can be visual or haptic: visual when the de- 
scription is according to our visual percept, which uses the eyes as the 
intermediaries; haptic when the description is an outcome of emotional 
or body reactions. Both relationships can be general and bold or individual 
and sensitive, depending upon epoch and culture and artist personality. 
The more complex these relationships between object and color become, 
the greater becomes the problem of color. The most general and bold 
visual relationship is the assignment of one local color always related to 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 373 

the same object. (See the discussion of color in Chapter 6, on the schematic 
stage.) The visual percept can thus be satisfied merely by distinguishing 
objects roughly by their colors. The most general and bold haptic relation- 
ship between object and color is the repetition of one color for the same 
emotional experience. A rigid relationship between emotion and color 
represents the most primitive haptic color experience. Through repetition 
the color becomes a symbol. Color symbols are thus the most primitive 
haptic means of color expressions. 

The more complex visual color experiences become, the more we see 
the need to refrain from using local color. With the increased desire to see 
and observe color, the quality of color assigned to the objects and the 
relationships of the colors to one another become more differentiated. 
Visual relationships of color deal with the optically perceivable influences 
of one color upon another. Red will appear different in a blue or yellow 
environment. The reflections of colors on one another may, however, 
assume such importance that local colors cease to exist. In this art the re- 
lationship between object and color has shifted its center of gravity from 
the importance of the object to the meaning of color. In impressionistic 
art the visual percept has attained its highest significance. 

The more complex haptic color experiences become, the more we 
abstain from color symbols of general validity. Color expression becomes 
highly subjective. Associations with past experiences become fused with 
emotional reactions to present experiences. With the increasing differ- 
entiation of haptic color experiences, color relationships assume major 
significance. Haptic color relationships are determined by the emotional 
effects colors have on us. A blue within purple might have a lonely, sad 
effect, whereas a purple within a bright-yellow environment would create 
the mood of solemnity. A green close to a shrill yellow might mean fear, 
whereas it might calm us down if we place it close to a soft blue. Al- 
though much has been written on the emotional meaning and significance 
of color, color relationship will always be a highly subjective means of 
expression. In expressionistic art haptic color experiences receive their 
highest meaning. 

Maitland Graves provides a brief summary of the conclusions on the 
psychological effect of color "reached by investigators and psychologists 
as a result of experiments upon thousands of people. . . . The warm colors, 
yellow, orange, and red, are positive and aggressive, restless, or stimulating, 
as compared to the cool violets, blues, and greens, which are negative, 
aloof, and retiring, tranquil, or serene. . . . Color preference is as follows. 


in the order named (pure colors) : a. Red, b. Blue, c. Violet, d. Green, 
e. Orange, /. Yellow. . . . Pure colors are preferred to shades and tints 
when used in small areas. ... In large areas, shades and tints are pre- 
ferred to pure colors."^ 

Although these conclusions are based on "thousands of people," they 
have no general validity for teaching purposes. That they are based on 
thousands of people means only that the majority reacted to these colors in 
the way the summary shows. The haptically minded minority is neglected 
if we apply the results of this summary rigidly. In a classroom situation the 
haptically minded group may need more attention than the visually 
minded. In this case such summaries must be interpreted with great care. 

In his "Characteristics and Symbolism of Color" Graves refers to his- 
toric and present-day symbolisms of colors. In his analysis of the majority 
of the colors, he provides interesting and valuable information. He dis- 
cusses pleasant and unpleasant associations and emphasizes that such in- 
formation is subjective and is not generally valid. He says, "Yellow, for 
example, is a sacred color, not only in China but also in European Chris- 
tianity. On the other hand, it is sometimes used to signify treachery and 
deceit. This is confusing unless it is remembered that yellow is, and has 
been, loosely applied to many hues, tints, and shades, ranging from the 
clear and brilliant cadmium and lemon yellows, to the ochers and bilious 
greenish yellows. . . . Bright clear yellow is emblematic of the sun and is 
cheerful, gay, and lively. . . . The darker and the more neutralized yel- 
lows and greenish yellows are the most unpopular and disliked of all 
colors. These yellows are associated with sickness and disease, indecency, 
cowardice, jealousy, envy, deceit, and treachery. The yellow flag is flown 
on quarantined ships and sometimes hospitals. In tenth-century France, 
the doors of the houses of traitors and criminals were painted yellow, and 
Judas was pictured as clad in yellow garments. . . . Today the terms 
'yellow dog' and 'yellow streak' convey the ideas of treachery and coward- 
ice. Nevertheless, these yellows, although unpleasant by themselves, may be 
satisfactory and even beautiful when properly related with other colors."^ 

Valuable and important as these color associations may be for the proper 
knowledge and understanding of colors, color itself in art is meaningless 
unless related to its environment. And, again according to Graves, ". . . 
colors unpleasant by themselves may be satisfactory and even beautiful 
when properly related with other colors. That shows that there is no 
general validity or rule in color reactions in art, but that relationships de- 
termine their meaning just as they do in space and line." 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 375 

Therefore instead of discussing the possible meanings of the single 
colors, we shall discuss the meaning of color relationships within a com- 
position. Depending upon period and culture and artist personality, color 
relationship can be based on aesthetic or expressive assumptions. 

In the visual and decorative arts color relationships are based mostly 
on aesthetic functions. Color relationships, therefore, are dependent upon 
the principles given in color harmony. These principles can best be under- 
stood if we compare them with music, especially with tonal music, in 
which the longing for resounding chords is one of the main driving forces. 
In some of the works of tonal music the interest in the work of art is in- 
creased by the dramatic tension under which sounds approach one another 
under different circumstances, until the longing for the chord is so great 
that the chord finally has to resound. Of course the type of experience 
underlying this "battle" is different with different works and composers. 

In the representative arts we do not deal with different time sequences 
as we do in listening to music. We can see the whole picture simul- 
taneously. In color, however, we can draw close parallels with music, if we 
regard the single colors as tones and a color harmony as a chord. In a 
picture, as in music, the resounding of a color harmony can be interrupted 
by colors that are interpolated in order to increase the tension or interest 
for the "resounding" color harmony. In the same way that rhythm in 
music is produced by the principle of repetition, it is also produced in 
color. In music as well as in color compositions the interest in repetitions 
is created by varying them, either by different emphasis in the intensity 
of tones (dynamics) or through different intervals (harmonics). 

If the longing for the resounding of a chord is subordinated to the ex- 
pressive quality, regardless whether it is produced by discords or chords, 
we deal with the type of music that can be compared with color com- 
positions in which aesthetic are subordinated to expressive values. In this 
realm color relationships assume a different significance. Subjective value 
relationships dominate this type of color composition. There are no abso- 
lute bright or dull colors. Everything depends upon the meaning of color 
in relationship to its environment. We may compare this experience with 
a girl who looks beautifully dressed in her dull environment. As soon as 
she has to compete with others on the dance floor, she will be submerged 
in the mass of color and brightness. Bright colors may become over- 
powered by environmental influences. Bright colors may no more seem 
bright but monotonous when repeated by equally intensive colors. 

The significance attached to color can be understood by imagining the 


feeling of a student who could not graduate but still has to sit in her 
beautiful evening dress among her graduate colleagues wearing their black 
baccalaureate gowns. If she had to paint this picture, the bright colors of 
evening dress would not assume the meaning of brightness or significance. 
Visually bright colors, then, do not necessarily imply emotional brightness. 
Colors receive their emotional content through the relationships in which 
they are represented. Since these relationships are an outcome of subjective 
experiences and association, color relationships in expressionistic art are 
highly individual. 


Unity, or composition, in a work of art is the integration of all the 
previously mentioned properties in a sum total in which all compositional 
elements are interwoven into one consistent pattern. "The purpose of com- 
position is to organize all the physical elements which make up a work 
of art in,to a coherent pattern, pleasing to the senses. "^*^ However, "pleas- 
ing to the senses" is a relative value judgment. We all know that many 
people would oppose our calling Picasso's mural "Guernica" pleasing to 
the senses. We have, however, a simple means to prove this "consistent 
pattern" by attempting to change the unity in a work of art. The greater 
the work of art, the less is the possibility of making the slightest change 
in any of its compositional elements. Any attempt to change any one of 
the compositional properties must subsequently result in disunity. A work 
of art contains the highest and most complete organization of its elements. 
In such an organization there is nothing superfluous for it represents the 
highest form of economy. Every part is related to the whole and the whole 
is related to every part. The foreground supports the background and the 
background brings out the foreground. If one can exist without the other, 
the work of art is incomplete.^ ^ 

Recognizing this unity of composition as the highest form of organiza- 
tion and economy in which nothing can be changed without doing harm 
to the whole, the educator is better able to help the student in his drive 
for harmonious integration. He will no longer look exclusively for balance 
and rhythm, which are only some aesthetic properties in a composition, 
but will become aware of the integration of all elements and their ex- 
pressive qualities. He will use as a criterion the possibility of changes as 
well as the necessity that each part is a part of the whole. He will fur- 
thermore steer toward this highest economy in which only the most neces- 
sary things are expressed. Necessary, however, also is a relative value 

The Meaning of Aesthetic Criteria 377 

judgment; necessary will vary with each artist. The educator will not suc- 
ceed if he does not place the individual above rules, if he does not con- 
sider unity of composition the outcome of integrating personality with 

Fundamental to any aesthetic education is the recognition that the 
aesthetic product is only a record of the degree to which the senses have 
developed and have been brought into harmonious relationship with the 
external world. If the senses have been refined and cultivated, it will be 
revealed in the aesthetic product. 

Aesthetics for the Consumer 

Aesthetic considerations are by no means limited to those who produce 
works of art. The consumer, too, uses his aesthetic sense, though it may be 
that he often does so unconsciously. The selection of utensils, accessories, 
clothing, furniture, homes — the list is endless, for it includes all of the 
means by which man has shaped his environment and what he has 
elected to preserve — has shaped and determined the character of our 
visual world. These choices reflect both cultural and individual differences. 
We can tell a great deal about a society from those artifacts that are 
uncovered by archaeologists. We have discussed the effects of today's so- 
ciety upon architecture, reflecting our own confusion and fear (see Chap- 
ter 2). The differences of "taste" as seen in our individual choices may be 
more a reflection of our personality than of any learning of the proper 
rules of color harmony, rules of form, or knowledge of particular styles.-^^ 
This does not imply that we are static beings, for as Frank Sibley has 
said, ". . . there is no doubt that our ability to notice and respond to 
aesthetic qualities is cultivated and developed by our contacts with parents 
and teachers from quite an early age."^^ 

Exposure to, and awareness of, some of the variety of forms available in 
contemporary art (see Figure 106) should be considered as important in 
education as exposure to ideas and forms in scientific or political thinkjng. 
We certainly need to know a great deal more about how ". . . different 
kinds of art affect different kinds of persons in different kinds of situa- 

Obviously, social and practical considerations are important in our 
selection of home, institutions, factories, and parks, but the form these 
take, the character of an urban renewal project, the voting of monies, may 



rest upon the aesthetic judgment of those who have had no exposure to 
aesthetic education beyond what may have been absorbed from their own 
environment. The Wight that constantly faces us (see Figure 107) needs to 
have careful and thorough consideration, for it is only through education 
that art can bring sanity and truth to what man produces, to what man is. 

Related Activities 

1. Find examples of utensils, vases, or household accessories that are func- 
tionally well designed, though inexpensive and available at a local store. 
Compare these with poorly designed items of comparable price. Explain 
the reasons for saving some are better designed than others, relating this 
to materials, function, and manufacture. 

2, Make a series of lines which are expressive of being sleepy, angry, sad, 
militant, happv, and so forth. List these words and draw the corresponding 

y : I 

Figure 107. The common recurrence of such surroundings as these 
reflects a society's lack of concern with aesthetic sensitivity. 

lines in random order in two columns. How many people can match the 
expressive word with the intended line? Can you draw any conclusions as 
to the individualistic interpretation or universality of meaning of such ex- 
pressive lines? 

3. Collect examples of texture and pattern as seen in nature. Design a display 
of such natural patterns, capturing some of the feeling for pattern in the 
display itself. 

4. Visit public and private buildings of various styles and of as many eras as 
possible. Be aware of the influences of different cultures: European, Asian, 
Mediterranean, and so forth. Discuss the various factors influencing the 
building of a particular structure. List some of the influences and considera- 
tions important in planning buildings for today. 

5. Make a study of the ef^^ect and meaning of color. Cite an example where 
color is used in each of the following ways: decoratively; dynamically; 

Figure 106. Students should be aware of contemporary developments 
in art, such as this example of housing and home furnishings. (Furni- 
ture and fabric from Herman Miller, Inc.) 


dramatically; expressively; atmospherically; bound up with form; abstractly. 
6. Select examples of paintings that are related to a particular period of art. 
Explain why these are representative of their time, referring to subject 
matter, technique, and mode of representation. 


1. Kenneth Beittel, "Appreciation and Creativity," Research Bulletin, The 

Eastern Arts Association, V, No. 1 (1954). 

2. Herbert Read, Education Through Art (London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 

1943), pp. 274, 275. 

3. Conrad Fiedler, On Judging Worf{s of Visual Art, tr. Henry Schaefer- 

Simmern (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949). 

4. Victor D'Amico, Creative Teaching in Art, rev. ed. (Scranton, Pa.: Inter- 

national Textbook Co., 1953). 

5. R. G. Wiggin, Composing in Space (Dubuque, Iowa: William C. Brown 

Company, 1949). 

6. Compare with M. Schoen, Art and Beauty (New York: The Macmillan 

Company, 1942). 

7. Jay Hambidge, Dynamic Symmetry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 


8. Maitland Graves, The Art of Color and Design (New York: McGraw-Hill 

Company, Inc., 1941), p. 256. 

9. Ibid., p. 259. 

10. Read, op. cit. 

11. Thomas Munro, 'Towers of Art Appreciation and Evaluation," The 

Fortieth Yearboo\ of the National Society for the Study of Education 
(Bloomington, 111.: Public School Publishing Co., 1941), pp. 323-348. 

12. Earl W. Linderman, "The Relation of Art Picture Judgment to Judge 

Personality," Studies in Art Education, III, No. 2 (Spring 1962), p. 46 ff. 

13. Frank Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," Philosophy Loo\s at the Arts, ed. 

Joseph Margolis, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962), p. 84. 

14. Thomas Munro, "The Psychology of Art: Past, Present and Future," 

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXI, No. 3 (Spring 1963), 
p. 268. 


The Gifted Child 

A FIFTH grade teacher was standing in the front of her room looking 
through a large stack of paintings, which had just been picked up of? 
the floor where they had been drying. She was saying how much her 
children enjoyed their art experiences. That is, all but one child, "The one 
in the back row that needs the haircut," she said, nodding toward the one 
boy who looked as if he could stand a bath. She began thumbing through 
the paintings. "Aren't some of these lovely?" Most of them looked 
tightly drawn and carefully colored. Suddenly she came upon one that 
was full of color, painted very directly, and apparently with a lot of 
feeling. It was a large head outlined in strong purple with a red back- 
ground, looking somewhat like one of Roualt's paintings. She looked up 
and, shrugging her shoulders, said, "See, always this crude scribbling, no 
talent at all!" 



It is fairly obvious that this teacher had certain likes and dislikes in 
art, which she was using to evaluate children's drawings. The fact 
that the boy needed a haircut and a bath may also have influenced her 
judgment. At any rate, what one teacher might look upon as being out- 
standing, another teacher might consider a mess. Not only do we have 
individual differences in what teachers like, and what parents like, but 
we also find that what was liked fifty years ago may not be looked upon 
as being outstanding in the field of art today. 

The standards of aesthetic beauty change. Not very long ago the ultimate 
in beauty was embodied in the Golden Age of Greece. We found that 
schools and post offices were made to look like Greek temples. Venus de 
Milo was looked upon as the classic form of beauty, Greek motifs adorned 
our houses, and even bird baths were perched on top of sawed-ofE 
columns. Today, however, our society has different standards of beauty. 
A modern home looks more representative of Asian culture than of any 
European counterpart. Primitive African sculpture is now looked upon 
as being beautiful. With constantly changing aesthetic standards, un- 
doubtedly we will have new forms of beauty in the next fifty years. We 
would be on shaky ground, then, to pick out from a fifth grade class a 
gifted child by looking at his paintings. Fifty years hence, one who is now 
a fifth grader may be responsible for changes in our aesthetic taste. 

Occasionally we hear of a child who is outstanding in art and yet does 
not seem very intelligent. This may be quite natural. A child who is 
frustrated in subjects such as reading, writing, or arithmetic, and is pointed 
to as being slow, may turn to art for a release of his frustrations, because 
in art there are no right or wrong answers. Some children will excel in 
sports for this reason. If a child gets satisfaction from drawing, and 
is rewarded for his efforts, he will certainly continue to try to gain recogni- 
tion. As we have seen in earlier chapters, in discussing the drawings of 
children up to age ten, there is a positive relationship between intelligence 
and their drawings. This relationship may be more in terms of perceiving 
and thinking about details than about the organization of these parts. The 
intellectually gifted child tends to scribble earlier than normal and 
continues to advance through the developmental stages more rapidly than 
the normal child. Certainly intelligence tests usually administered in 
schools do not give any indication of artistic giftedness. As has been 
pointed out by Torrance, the creative child may be the one whom the 
teacher considers less desirable or at least not as well understood;^ Getzels 
and Jackson have given us evidence that children can be highly creative 

Figure 108. The intense concentration of this ten-year- 
old boy is typical of the involvement of the gifted child 
in his creative activity. 

without being highly intelligent." There may be particular qualities in 
children that show their potential much more accurately than do their 
drawings. The child who does not conform to the characteristics generally 
expected from his classmates may indeed be the gifted child. 

Just as we have seen that expression grows out of, and is a reflection of, 
the total child, we find that the gifted child also expresses his thoughts, 
feelings, and interests in his drawings and paintings. Observant children 
show their knowledge of their environment in their creative expressions. 
A ten-year-old who is concerned with the mechanical operation of parts, 
gears, levers, and pulleys will work through these relationships in his 
drawings. Note the intense concentration shown in Figure 108. Much 
thought and planning has gone into the details of the operation of the 


wings and the joining of the various struts in his plan for an airplane (see 
Figure 109). That this looks little like an adult concept of a plane has 
little relevance here. Each child reveals his capabilities and involvement, 
although these may in some cases bear little relationship to "beauty." 

While every child, regardless of where he stands in his development, 
should first of all be considered as an individual, the gifted child makes us 
doubly aware of this responsibility. In fact, his highly developed sensitivity 
within his special field of interest not only makes him often appear 
different from others but may also keep him from participating in general 
activities less important to him. To do justice to the gifted child is not 
only vital to this society, but is an important educational principle. It is 
indeed one of the most difficult tasks, for what is generally true of 
developmental characteristics does not necessarily apply to a child of such 

Figure 109. This plan for a working model of an airplane, drawn by a 
ten-year-old boy, may not be aesthetically pleasing to an adult, but the 
boy's thinking through of the functions of the various parts shows an in- 
ventive awareness of mechanical details. 

The Gifted Child 385 

individuality. Motivations effective for the group might be frustrating to 
the gifted individual. Mediums and procedures considered thwarting may 
become vital parts of expression. Paper sizes considered restricting for the 
average child may become just the ideal area for the gifted child's particular 
kind of expression. Quite apart from the aesthetic message, it is this 
deviation from the average that is the most potent contribution of the 
gifted child to education, for without it the danger is great of falling into 
educational stereotypes such as "Draw big." "Don't use crayons because 

they are a restricting medium." "Size of the paper should be at least ." 

All this advice becomes mere prescription, a type of academicism, which 
we would not accept elsewhere. 

The Individual Case 

Let us discuss two specific cases of especially gifted children, Bobby and 
Sandra. What is it that distinguishes these children from the average child? 
Five major factors stand out among the many to be considered: 

1. Fluency of imagination and expression. 

2. The highly developed sensibility (in certain areas, especially to move- 
ment and space). 

3. The intuitive quality of imagination. 

4. Directness of expression. 

5. The high degree of self-identification with subject matter and 


The most obvious characteristic in this specific case appears to be the 
freedom with which Bobby adapts his ability to the diverse situation with 
which he is dealing. This constant change in which one element grows 
out of the other seems to be not only one of the important factors of the 
talent of this specific case but, as J. P. Guilford and W. Lambert Brittain 
in their independent studies on creativity found,^ it may be a general 
criterion for creativeness, regardless of where it is applied. In looking at 
Figure 110, the eye is almost directed from one event to the other, from 
one movement to the next. It becomes quite evident that the drawing 
developed as the imagery "expanded." It was not a preconceived whole, 
but went quite fluently from one figure to the other almost as the fight 


Figure 110. A drawing by Bobby, aged seven, shows a 
strong feeling for action and rhythm. He worked with 
pencil and crayon on small, lined paper. 

developed. Such fluency of ideas is an important part of any creative 
process.'* The especially gifted individual has it to a higher degree than 
is usually found. This spontaneity of expression and the resulting ability to 
take advantage of the given situation in developing new ones can be seen 
in drawings of the gifted. The mind never stands still. The imagery ex- 
pands with the creative process like a chain reaction. In early childhood 
this fluency of imagination deals mainly with the continuously developing 
responses toward subject matter and the flexible use of concepts, called 
schemata. In the drawing "Indians Pursuing a Russian" (Figure 111) 
Bobby obviously started with the fleeing Russian and then, as it were, the 
pursuit began — the Indian close to him followed, he gave rise to the next 
Indian using a different motion and method of pursuit, and then the 
fourth swiftly following the third. Had the paper been larger, others would 
have followed with the same fluency of imagination and the same flexibility 
in the use of the concepts for horses and Indians. That the sequence was 
according to the pursuit of the Russian can clearly be seen from the over- 
lapping pencil marks of the horses "covering" parts of those following. 
This great inventive power of building up a situation out of continuous 
chain reactions of stimuli to new and changing responses to subject matter 

The Gifted Child 387 

and form is a highly significant criterion of the gifted. As the child grows 
older the same "chain reaction" also develops in the use of materials and 
techniques. With the growing awareness toward the art product, he is able 
to take continuous advantage of accidental or other technical achievements 
as the artist does. However, it is quite obvious that directing the child's 
attention to this developing technique at a time when he has no such 
desires would only interfere with his spontaneous unconscious approach. 
However unconsciously, the child makes highly sensitive use of the 
material. It is here where we have to revise some of our preconceived ideas. 
Both children discussed use the pencil in its intrinsic quality with such 
intense self-identification that it can scarcely be replaced by any other 
material. Furthermore, it is their means to express their sensibilities. To 
deprive them of these means or to divert them to others might be frustrat- 
ing. Sandra, in her "Galloping Horses Followed by a Dog" (Figure 112), 
uses the pencil line with such a fluency, sensitivity, and certainty that we 
would have difficulty in finding such expression on a conscious, artistic 
level. Bobby, too, never seems to have the need of drawing over a line 
again, so certain is he of his expression and the use of his medium. 


The child's aunt tells us: "When I drove Bobby back to his house, 

Figure 111. "Indians Pursuing a Russian," drawn by 
Bobby. Rhythm and action, seen in horses and flying 
arrows, appear meaningful in this drawing. 


Figure 112. "Galloping Horses Followed by a Dog," drawn by 
Sandra, aged five. This drawing is made with pencil on news- 

we saw some boats and some trains. I asked him to draw a picture of the 
boats and the trains and send them to me. He rephed, to my astonishment, 
'I can't. I only draw things that are moving fast in my pictures.' " This 
sensibihty toward movement and rhythm can readily be seen as one of the 
outstanding characteristics in Bobby's drawings. Sensibilities toward 
various experiences are not always equally developed in the gifted. On 
the contrary, a certain highly developed area of experience may even 
characterize the gifted. In the case of Bobby it is first of all movement 
and to a lesser degree color. In Sandra it is movement only. She never 
wants to use color. But both have in common the high degree of 
sensibility for spatial distribution and organization. The gifted child 
flexibly adapts this sensitivity for organization to different situations. If he 
needs the whole area for his battleground or the story, the organization 
spreads over the whole sheet (see Figure 110). However, if the directional 
movement is important for expression, it determines the organization. As 
we can readily see, movement, rhythm, content, and organization become 
an inseparable entity. Such integration of thinking, feeling, and perceiving 
is part and parcel of any creative process. The gifted only has it to a much 
higher degree. One merely has to look at the "Galloping Horses Followed 
by a Dog" by Sandra, a five-year-old, to realize the degree of sensibility 

The Gifted Child 389 

toward motion and rhythm, the almost unrestricted use of the pencil line, 
the incarnation of movement; or at the beautiful masterly rhythm of the 
arrows and the tomahawk in the drawing "Indians Pursuing a Russian" 
by Bobby. The meaningful is in such perfect relationship to the meaning- 
less or background area that any change would disturb the harmonious 


Imagination may merely serve the purpose of recalling events, either 
directly or associatively. It may, however, also be used as a vehicle for 
new adventures into the unknown, bringing into existence constellations 
or events that have not existed before. It is this intuitive quality of imagery 
that is an important part of every creative act. In the gifted individual 
it is present to a high degree. It is seen in the great inventive power of 
Bobby in creating his almost Picasso-like symbols for human expression 
and movement, particularly in the boat scene (see Figure 113), as well as 
in the spontaneity and variability of five-year-old Sandra's fleeing horses. 
It is documented in the great diversity of spatial symbolisms. Both children 

Figure 113. "Boat Fight," drawn by Bobby. The schema 
for his figures is flexibly used. 

Figure 114. "The Peter Pan Story," drawn by Sandra. The action 
spreads over the whole sheet of paper. Ahhough Sandra is five, 
she uses an X-ray type of drawing, more typical of seven-year-olds. 

create the "space" in which their action takes place with a lordly autonomy, 
as if they were the Creator themselves. One has only to compare the 
ingenious inventiveness of using base-line symbols in the five reproduc- 
tions to realize the great intuitive power of the two gifted children. Such 
intuitive imagery must be expressed; it must be translated into concrete 
form. This is the main difference between fantasy and art. As soon as 
fantasy is translated into some form of expression through the intuitive 
power of the creator, it ceases to be mere fantasy. Educationally this is of 
great significance because it answers the often-placed question of how far 
we should go in motivating the fantasy of children without overstimulating 
them. We cannot go too far as long as the child translates his feelings into 
concrete and factual material. It is the intuitive quality of the imagery of 
the gifted that does not stop without this great fulfillment. 


From the child who expresses his lack of confidence in the often-heard 
phrase "I can't draw" to the directness seen in the expression of the 

The Gifted Child 391 

gifted, is a wide range of reactions that constitute the atmospheres of our 
classrooms. What makes Bobby and Sandra so sure of their expression? 
The answer to this has important educational implications, for it is quite 
obvious that it is neither the ability to come close to external reality nor a 
special skillful dexterity that can be detected in Sandra's or Bobby's work. 
"I can't draw" is then no indication of a child's lack of skill or his inability 
to portray external reality. In fact, Bobby has given us the answer in his 
conversation with his aunt when he said, "I only draw things that are 
moving fast in my pictures." With this he indicated that if no basic experi- 
ence affected him, he could not draw it. If, however, an experience is in 
tune with his desire for expression, he draws it with such certainty and 
directness that we do not doubt for a second the convincing quality of his 
expression. The creator gives it its own life with its independent intrinsic 
qualities. Bobby and Sandra create with a conviction and directness of 
expression that are especially developed in the gifted. 


For Bobby as well as for Sandra the subject matter is extremely im- 
portant. They live in it to such a degree that all the consistency of 
organization and expression is guided by the intensity of the emotional 
and physical partici|)ation in the experience during the creative process. 
Indeed, we get this vital feeling when looking at every detail Bobby 
has created. Most of all one can get it from the sequence with which he 
produced his drawings. He almost went kinetically through the whole 
action. All this is impossible without an intense identification of the self 
with the depicted experience. Indeed, without some identification no 
creative activity is possible. Bobby had extreme self-identification with his 
subject matter — the holding of a dagger, the riding on the horse, the shoot- 
ing of the arrow, the jumping of a dog, the fleeing of the horses — and 
also had an intense feeling for the medium. The pencil had almost be- 
come a continuation of the body. It is no longer a separate means but is 
a part of it. Bobby and Sandra, as it were, live and breathe through their 

Educational Implications 

The question arises. What can the art teacher or parents Wntribute to 
the growth of the gifted child? Bobby and Sandra have developed their 


world of expression on the basis of high sensibiHties and experiences that 
were most meaningful to them. Any forcing of new material such as 
poster paint upon these children might cause confusion. As long as their 
expression satisfies their needs, there is no reason to introduce a change. 
However, these children are rapidly growing, and having a variety of 
materials at their disposal may eventually lead to other kinds of expression. 
There is some indication that a variation of paper sizes would be welcomed 
as the desire for more details and space grows. According to his father, 
Bobby loves to tell interesting stories about his drawings. Such verbaliza- 
tion may lead to more insight and greater concentration and enrichment 
of his areas of interest. As Sandra grows, in addition to the great movement 
she will also want more characterization of parts, or swifter movements 
with broader strokes. All this is purely speculative, for motivating the 
gifted is intensely personal. 

Although we have discussed two children in detail, there should be no 
implications that the gifted child is always easy to recognize. A study of 
children's art abilities at the Cleveland Museum of Art reported that those 
children judged as having special art ability differed from those with 
average ability only in degree.^ For many children in a classroom there 
may be a very small difference between those gifted in art and those 
not gifted. To put this in another way, individual attention and encourage- 
ment may make the difference between being gifted and not being so. 
The teacher, then, plays a vital role in contributing to the development of 
artistic ability in those children with whom he works. 

Usually when we think of children gifted in art, we mean children who 
show some ability to draw and paint. In the professional world of art, 
however, we find very few artists actually making a living by drawing 
and painting. A much larger number become architects, textile designers, 
art historians, ceramists, teachers, interior designers, sculptors, advertising 
designers, and so forth. There are certainly large differences in these fields, 
and a child who enjoys working with objects and wooden blocks may be 
just as gifted as the child who is able to draw well. It might be well to 
consider every child as being potentially gifted. 

In the elementary school we rarely find any program aimed specifically 
at providing an enriched background for the child gifted in art. However, 
some school systems do try to identify and encourage gifted children to 
take art at the high school level." An enriched program in art often in- 
cludes a bus trip to a local art museum, a trip to a print shop, and the 
opportunity to work with a great number of materials. The artistically 
talented youngsters are usually called upon to exhibit their talents for the 

The Gifted Child 393 

school in making posters and charts, and at the junior high and senior 
high level as scenery painters for the Christmas play or as workers on 
the school yearbook. It can certainly be argued that trips to museums 
and design studios could certainly stimulate interest in those children who 
are supposedly not gifted. The additional work of making posters or 
painting scenery may be of little real value to the children themselves 
except to keep them busy. 

It would appear that high school is the logical place for a full develop- 
ment of artistic talent within our school system. But such is rarely the 
case. Usually only one youngster in ten takes any art beyond the junior 
high school level. Among those who take art are the students who are 
prodded into the course by the high school counselor so that they will 
maintain enough interest to finish high school, those students who look 
upon art as an inoffensive way to spend time, and of course the high school 
athlete who has to pass at least one course. Therefore, the high school art 
teacher has to deal with a large range of abilities, and the gifted student 
may be in the minority. We also find unhappy circumstances that tend to 
push the gifted student into the more academic courses to insure acceptance 
into college. Certainly one of the outstanding needs of today is that of 
providing for those students gifted in art a truly exciting program that 
will stimulate and encourage a new, different kind of thinking, a new 
approach to art that will make it a fundamental part of the program for 
the gifted. 

At the end of this discussion it should be re-emphasized that every 
child is potentially gifted. To divide children into "gifted" and "not 
gifted" would be absurd, fqrr the very foundation of our philosophy is the 
development of all potential creative abilities in every child, regardless of 
where he presently stands, regardless of his background, and regardless 
of our own personal bias or taste. 

Related Activities 

1. Check to find an elementary school that divides its classes according to 
achievement levels. Compare the drawings of children in the "fast" classes 
with those in the "slow" classes. Are there any differences in method of 
representation? Number of details used? 

2. Interview several people who are recognized artists in business, in industry, 
or free-lance. What influenced their choice of career? At what age did they 
decide to enter the art field? To what extent was the public school art 
program helpful or influential in their vocational choice? 

3. Compare the quantity and quality of drawings from several children you 


consider gifted with several you do not consider gifted in art. List the 
differences in drawings. Plan experiences you think would be of value to 
the gifted children. Would these be of value for those not gifted? 

4. Work with a class of third grade youngsters. Plan one lesson emphasizing 
environment: trees, homes, school, and so forth. Plan a second lesson that 
emphasizes the imaginative: dreams, make believe animals, strange crea- 
tures. Do the same children seem gifted for both lessons? Are there quali- 
ties of giftedness that cannot be easily judged? 

5. Pick out one child who does not appear gifted in art. Over a period of 
several months give special attention to his art performances. Show an in- 
terest in his products, encourage him, praise changes in his expression, 
exhibit his paintings, show him you enjoy what and how he draws, give 
him confidence to explore new materials, ask him if he would like to be 
an artist. After the experimental period compare his products with those 
done previously. Do you still consider him not particularly gifted? 


1. E. Paul Torrance, Guiding Creative Talent (Englewood Cliffs, N.}.: 

Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962). 

2. Jacob W. Getzels and Philip Jackson, Creativity and Intelligence (New 

York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1962). 

3. J. P. Guilford, R. C. Wilson, and P. R. Christiensen, "A Factor-Analytic 

Study of Creative Thinking, II. Administration of Tests and Analysis of 
Results." Reports from the Psychological Laboratory , The University of 
Southern California, No. 8, 1952. Also W. Lambert Brittain, "Experi- 
ments for a Possible Test to Determine Some Aspects of Creativity in the 
Visual Arts" (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Pennsylvania State 
University, 1952). 

4. See the discussion on creativity in Ch. 1. 

5. Thomas Munro, Art Education: Its Philosophy and Psychology (New York: 

Liberal Arts Press, 1956), pp. 209-236. 

6. The University of the State of New York, 56 Practices for the Gifted 

(Albany: The State Education Department, 1958), p. 95. 


Summary of All Stages 

Art education has tremendous potential for the understanding of children 
and for the promoting of their creative growth. Every child is unique. 
Knowing the stages of his creative growth in relation to his general de- 
velopment allows us to motivate him toward his greatest achievement and 
personal fulfillment. An attempt has been made to put into outline form 
some of the factors involved in the development of creative expression. 
These outlines are simplified and should be used only as a reminder of 
the differences and similarities existing among children. For every stage 
are listed certain procedures and media that are most appropriate; these 
as well as an outline of the progression of creative expression are sum- 

Some of the most important concepts the authors hoped to convey 
cannot be put into outline form. Sensitivity to children and an under- 
standing of the importance of the creative act need to be experienced 
rather than memorized. We must recognize that our knowledge is worth- 
less unless we can develop within children the self-confidence to utilize 
art as a means of imaginative self-expression according to individual 
needs. Through such creative experiences our youth may lead more 
unified and better-adjusted lives. 



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Selected References 

Alshuler, Rose H., and Hattwick, La Berta W. A Study of Painting and 
Personality of Young Children, 2 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 

Anderson, Harold H. (ed.). Creativity and Its Cultivation. New York: Harper 
& Row, Publishers, 1959. 

Andrews, Michael F. (ed.). Aesthetic Form and Education. Syracuse: Syracuse 
University Press, 1958. 

Arnheim, Rudolph. Art and Visual Perception. Berkeley: University of Cali- 
fornia Press, 1954. 

Bannon, Laura. Mind Your Child's Art. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy, 
Inc., 1952. 

Barkan, Manuel. A Foundation for Art Education. New York: Ronald Press 
Co., 1955. 

. Through Art to Creativity. Boston: AUyn & Bacon, Inc., 1960. 



Bland, Jane Cooper. Art of the Young Child. New York: Simon & Schuster, 

Inc., 1957. 
BuRKHART, Robert C. Spontaneous and Deliberate Ways of Learning. Scranton, 

Pa.: International Textbook Co., 1962. 
Cane, Florence. The Artist in Each of Us. New York: Pantheon Books, 

Cole, Natalie Robinson. The Arts in the Classroom. New York: John Day 

Company, Inc., 1940. 
Conant, Howard, and Randall, Arne. Art in Education. Peoria, 111.: Chas. A. 

Bennett Co., Inc., 1959. 
D'Amico, Victor. Creative Teaching in Art. Rev. ed. Scranton, Pa.: Inter- 
national Textbook Co., 1954. 
and Wilson, Frances. Art for the Family. New York: Museum of 

Modern Art, 1956. 
DeFrancesco, Italo L. Art Education, Its Means and Ends. New York: Harper 

& Row, Publishers, 1958. 
Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1934. 
Ellsworth, Maud, and Andrews, Michael F. Grouping with Art. Chicago: 

Benjamin H. Sanborn & Co., 1951. 
Erdt, Margaret H. Teaching Art in the Elementary School. New York: Holt, 

Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1962. 
Farber, Seymour, and Wilson Roger (eds.). Conflict and Creativity. New 

York: McGraw-Hill Company, Inc., 1963. 
Gaitskell, Charles D. Children and their Art. New York: Harcourt, Brace 

& World, Inc., 1958. 
and Gaitskell, Margaret. Art Education in the Kindergarten. Toronto: 

Ryerson Press, 1952. 
Getzels, Jacob W., and Jackson, Philip. Creativity and Intelligence. New York: 

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1962. 
Graves, Maitland. The Art of Color and Design. New York: McGraw-Hill 

Company, Inc., 1941. 
Grozinger, Wolfgang. Scribbling, Dratving, Painting. London: Faber & 

Faber, Ltd., 1955. 
Gruber, Howard E., Terrel, Glenn, and Wertheimer, Michael (eds.). Con- 
temporary Approaches to Creative Thin\ing. New York: Atherton Press, 

Harrison, Elizabeth. Self Expression Through Art, Toronto: W. J. Gage and 

Co., 1951. 
Horn, Joicey. Young Artists. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1961. 
International Bureau of Education. Education and Art. Paris: UNESCO, 1955. 

. Teaching of Art. Paris: UNESCO, 1953. 

Jefferson, Blanche. Teaching Art to Children. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc., 


Selected References 405 

Keiler, Manfred. Art in the Schoolroom. Rev. ed. Lincoln: University of 

Nebraska Press, 1955. 

. The Art in Teaching Art. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961. 

Kellogg, Rhoda. What Children Scribble and Why. Palo Alto: National Press 

Books, 1959. 
Kepes, Gyorgy. The Language of Vision. Chicago: Paul Theobald and Co., 

Knudsen, Estelle, and Christensen, Ethel. Children's Art Education. Peoria, 

111.: Chas. A. Bennett Co., Inc., 1957. 
LiNDSTROM, Miriam. Children's Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 

Logan, Frederick. Growth of Art in American Schools. New York: Harper & 

Row, Publishers, 1955. 
LowENFELD, Viktor. The Nature of Creative Activity. London: Routledge and 

Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1952. 

. Your Child and His Art. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1956. 

Margolis, Joseph. Philosophy Lool{s at the Arts. New York: Charles Scribner's 

Sons, 1962. 
Mattil, Edward L. Meaning in Crafts. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 

Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handboo\ of Materials and Techniques. New 

York: Viking Press, 1957. 
McFee, June King. Preparation for Art. San Francisco: Wadsworth Publishing 

Co., 1961. 
McIlvain, Dorothy. Art for the Primary Grades. New York: G. P. Putnam's 

Sons, 1961. 
Mendelowitz, Daniel. Children Are Artists. Stanford: Stanford University 

Press, 1953. 
Miel, Alice (ed.). Creativity in Teaching. San Francisco: Wadsworth Publish- 
ing Co., 1961. 
Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo. Vision in Motion. Chicago: Paul Theobald and Co., 

MuNRO, Thomas. Art Education: Its Philosophy and Psychology. New York: 

Liberal Arts Press, 1956. 
. The Arts and Their Interrelations. New York: Liberal Arts Press, 

and Read, Herbert. The Creative Arts in American Education. Cam- 

bridge: Harvard University Press, 1960. 

Naumburg, Margaret. Schizophrenic Art: Its Meaning in Psychotherapy, New 
York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1950. 

Ott, Richard. The Art of Children. New York: Pantheon Books, 1952. 

PiAGET, Jean, fudgment and Reasoning in the Child. Paterson, N. J.: Little- 
field, Adams and Co., 1959. 


Read, Herbert. Education through Art. New York: Pantheon Books, 1958. 

. Icon and Idea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956. 

Reed, Carl. Early Adolescent Art Education. Peoria, 111.: Chas. A. Bennett Co., 

Inc., 1957. 
Riley, Olive. Your Art Heritage. New York: McGraw-Hill Company, Inc., 

Schaefer-Simmern, Henry. The Unfolding of Artistic Activity. Berkeley: 

University of Calif. Press, 1950. 
Smith, Paul (ed.). Creativity: An Examination of the Creative Process. New 

York: Hastings House, 1959. 
Stein, Morris I., and Heinze, Shirley. Creativity and the Individual. Glencoe, 

111.: Free Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1960. 
Taylor, Calvin W. (ed.). Research Conference on the Identification of Creative 

Scientific Talent. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1955, 1957, and 

Torrance, E. Paul. Guiding Creative Talent. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 

Inc., 1962. 
WicKisER, Ralph L. An Introduction to Art Education. Yonkers, N. Y.: World 

Book Company, 1957. 
Winslow, Leon Loyal. The Integrated School Art Program. New York: 

McGraw-Hill Company, Inc., 1949. 
ZiEGFELD, Ernest. Art in the College Program. New York: Columbia University 

Press, 1953. 



Abstraction, ability, 9 
Adustment, social, 43 

See also Social growth 

change of concept, 253 

characteristics, 284 

crisis, 252 
Adolescent art, 282, 286, 401, 402 
Aesthetic criteria, 352 
Aesthetic growth, 18, 68, 353 

gang age, 211 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 249 

schematic stage, 179 
Aesthetics for the consumer, 377 
Alpha rhythms, 258 
Alschuler, Rose H., 109, 1 14, 403 
Analytic method, 165, 229 

Anderson, Harold H., 403 
Andrews, Michael, 403 
Animals, interest in drawing, 219 
Appreciation, 40, 377 
Arnheim, Rudolph, 403 

classroom, 52 

meaning for education, 1 

relation to creativity, 6 

role, 1 

understanding growth and, 58 
Art instruction, psychological insight in, 

Art Materials, 89 

See also Materials 
Art motivation, 1 1 

See also Motivation 



Artistic ability, development, 87 
Atmosphere, classroom, 85 
Autoplastic sensations, 143, 265 
Awards, 74 

Bannon, Laura, 403 

Barkan, Manuel, 18, 19, 143, 181, 403 

Base line, 142 

origin, 148 

part of landscape, 149 

pseudo-naturalistic stage and, 223 

schematic stage and, 142 
Beauty, changing standards, 382 
Beittel, Kenneth, 10, 19, 41, 51, 353, 380 
Biehler, Robert F., 110, 114 
Biggers, John T., 336 
Bland, Jane Cooper, 404 
Blind sculpture, 266, 272, 274 
Body imagery, 66 
Body parts, motivation for, 123 
Bowley, Agatha, 183,213 
Brittain, W. Lambert, 7, 18, 87, 92, 283", 

Burkhart, Robert C, 10, 19, 404 
Byzantine mural, 365 

Cane, Florence, 404 

Caravaggio, 367 

Carving, 338 

Casting, in secondary school, 338 

Christensen, Ethel, 405 

Classroom procedures, 85 

Clay, 338, 345 

analytic method, 165 

blind sculpture, 266, 272, 274 

gang age, 194 

preschematic stage, 128, 130 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 227, 245 

schematic stage, 163 

scribbling stage, 106 

synthetic method, 166 
Cole, Luella, 286, 351 
Cole, Natalie Robinson, 404 

scribbling stage, 106 

Sec also materials 

composition, 372 

gang age, 189 

haptic, 373 

harmony, 375 

personification, 234 

preschematic stage, 120 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 225, 234 

psychological effects, 373 

schematic stage, 161 

Color, continued 

scribbling, 101, 109, 111 

visual use, 372 
Coloring books, effect, 22, 24 

forced, 74 

natural, 73 
Composition, 376 
Conant, Howard, 404 
Concept formation, 117 
Consumer education, 377 
Convergent thinking, 10 

gang age, 196 

objective method, 197 

preschematic stage, 120 

role of teacher, 200 

schematic stage, 147 

subjective method, 196 
Corcoran, Ambrose L., 109, 114, 226, 251 
Countryman, Calvin, 67, 91 

gang age, 191 

See also Materials 
Creating, preparation, 4 
Creative activity in elementary education, 

Creative growth, 69 

gang age, 21 1 

preschematic stage, 133 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 249 

schematic stage, 180 

scribbling stage, 1 1 1 
Creative thinking, development, 87 
Creative types, development, 258 
Creativeness, factors stimulating, 11 
Creativity, 385 

factors, 7 

importance of art, 6 
Curriculum for secondary school, 295 

D'Amico, Victor, 163, 181, 358, 380, 404 
Dark and light, 363 
Dawning realism, 182, 399 
Decoration, developing awareness, 193 
DeFrancesco, Italo L., 404 
Dependent thinking, 27 
Depth, discovery, 221 

gang age, 191 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 226 

schematic stage, 162 

secondary school, 344 
Detail in gang age, 188 
Developmental stages, importance dur- 
ing teaching, 82 

Index 409 

Dewey, John, 404 

Directness of expression in gifted, 390 

Discipline, 85 

Distance, 221 

Divergent thinking, 10 

Drewes, Henry W., 259, 280 

Education, role of art in, 1,6 

Educational exhibits, 77 

Educational implications of giftedness, 

Ellsworth, Maud, 404 
Emotional growth, 60 

gang age, 209 

preschematic stage, 131 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 247 

schematic stage, 175 

scribbling stage, 110 
Environment, sensitive relationship to, 16 
Erdt, Margaret, H., 404 
Exaggerations, 132, 143 
Exhibits, classroom and school, 77 
Exhibits and competitions, 73 
Experiences in community, 312 

community planning, 312 

education and citizenship, 315 

recreation, 316 
Experiences in home, 304 

evolution of home, 304 

home life, 310 

interior design, 308 

site planning, 306 
Experiences in industry, 323 

advertising, 327 

assembly-line processes, 326 

consumer education, 327 

crafts, 323 

transportation, 328 
Experiences in nature, 319 

clothing, 322 

geographic and climatic influences, 322 

getting the most from nature, 321 

interpreting principles, 319 
Experiences of self, 295 

community, 300 

home, 295 

industry, 302 

nature, 298 
Experimental attitude, 250 
Expression in picture making, 353 
Expressionist art, 270, 369 

Farber, Seymour, 404 
Fiedler, Conrad, 354, 380 
Figure, development of schema, 140 
Final product, emphasis on, 216 

Finger paint, 106 
Flexibility, 8, 131 

teacher's need for, 81 
Flick, Paul, 260, 280 
Fluency, 8 

gifted child and, 385 
Folding over in drawings, 151 
Form concept, achievement, 138 
Frame of reference, extending, 12 
Freud, Sigmund, 351 
Frobenius, Leo, 268, 281 

Gaitskell, Charles D., 404 
Gaitskell, Margaret, 404 
Gang age, 182 

detail, 188 

discussion, 207 

summary, 212 
Geometric lines, 141 
Getzels, Jacob W., 86, 92, 382, 394, 404 
Gifted child, 381 
Gogh, Vincent Van, 263, 280 
Goldblatt, Irene, 285, 351 
Golden mean, 372 

Goodenough, Florence, 64, 91, 140, 181 
Grading the creative product, 72 
Graphics, 341 

Graves, Maitland, 373, 380, 404 

aesthetic, 68 

creative, 69 

emotional, 60 

intellectual, 64 

perceptual, 66 

physical, 65 

social, 67 
Grozinger, Wolfgang, 404 
Gruber, Howard E., 404 
Guilford, J. P., 7, 18, 385,394 

Hambidge, Jay, 380 

Haptic space, 267 

Haptic type, 258, 261 

Haptic use of color, 1)7?> 

Harrison, Elizabeth, 404 

Hattwick, La Berta Weiss, 109, 114 

Head-feet representations, 116 

Heilman, Horace, 22, 51 

Heinze, Shirley, 406 

Herman Miller, Inc., 378 

Hess, Robert, 285,351 

Holland, Jean, 41, 51 

Horn, Joicey, 404 

Human figure 

gang age, 185 

haptic, visual differences, 263 


Human figure, continued 
head-feet representation, 116 
posing model, 232 
proportions, 231 
pseudo-naturalistic stage, 217, 231 

Identification, 28 

See also Self-identification 
Imagination in gifted child, 385, 389 
Imaginative concept, change in adoles- 
cence, 253, 270 
Imitation, 21, 28 
Impressionist art, 276, 369 
Independence, social, 209 
Insincerity in use of materials, 193 

art and society, 45 

learning and, 49 

meaning in art education, 45 
Intellectual growth, 64 

gang age, 208 

preschematic drawings, 130 

schematic stage, 174 

scribbles and, 108 
IntelHgence and talent, 382 
International Bureau of Education, 404 

Jackson, Philip W., 86, 92, 382, 394, 404 
Jefferson, Blanche, 404 

Kagan, Jerome, 120, 137 
Keiler, Manfred, 405 
Kellogg, Rhoda, 94, 114,405 
Kepes, Gyorgy, 405 
Kincaid, Clarence, 245, 251 
Kinesthetic experiences, 94, 264 
Knudsen, Estelle, 405 

Learning and integration, 49 
Lemkin, Judith, 120, 137 
Light and shadow, 363 
Linderman, Earl, 377, 380 
Lindstrom, Miriam, 405 

geometric, 141 

meaning, 355 

See also Base line 
Logan, Frederick, 405 
Lowenfeld, Viktor, 10, 19, 188, 213, 258, 
259, 263, 280, 405 

McFee, June King, 405 
Mcllvain, Dorothy, 405 
McVitty, L. P., 12, 19, 34 
Man: Sec Human figure 

Margolis, Joseph, 405 

Masks in secondary school, 341 

Materials, 89 

adolescent stage, 287 

experimentation, 126 

gang age, 204 

importance, 70 

insincerity in use, 193 

preschematic stage, 127 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 243 

schematic stage, 171 

scribbling, 104 

selection, 39, 70 

sensitivity to, 193 
Mattil, Edward, 60, 68, 91, 405 
Mayer, Ralph, 405 
Mendelowitz, Daniel, 405 
Mentality: See Intelligence 
Michael, John, 76, 92 
Midcentury White House Conference, 68, 

Miel, Alice, 405 
Miller, Herman, Inc., 378 
Modeling in clay, 227 

See also Clay 
Models, posing, 232 
Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo, 405 

based on recall, 124 

classroom, 11 

gang age, 195 

haptic-visual differences and, 279 

meaningfulness, 57 

preschematic stage, 121 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 229 

schematic stage, 166 

scribbling stage, 101 
Munro, Thomas, 72, 92, 252, 271, 280, 

281, 376, 377, 380, 392, 394, 405 

Biggers, John T., 336 

gang age, 198 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 244 

secondary school, 335 
Myer, Gordon, 294 

Naturalism, concept, 184 
Naumburg, Margaret, 60, 91, 405 
Nonvisual mindedness, 223 

Objective space, 358 
Omissions of body parts, 143 
Originality, 8 
Ott, Richard, 405 
Overlapping, 199 

Index 411 

Paint-by-the-number kits, 195, 286 

finger, 106 

mural, 198,335 

scribbling stage, 109 

secondary school, 333 

water color, 35 
Paper in scribbling stage, 106 

See also Materials 
Percept, 118 
Perceptual growth, 66 

gang age, 210 

preschematic stage, 133 

schematic stage, 178 
Perceptual sensitivity, 4, 191 
Period of decision, 252 
Personification of color, 234 
Perspective, 221,233, 268 
Physical growth, 65 

schematic stage, 178 
Piaget, Jean, 146, 181,405 
Picasso, Pablo, 267, 276, 281, 370 
Pissarro, 369 
Plan and elevation, 155 
Plaster, 338 
Posing models, use in pseudo-naturalistic 

stage, 232 
Preadolescence, 214 
Preschematic stage, 115 

chart, 397 

growth characteristics, 134 

meaning, 130 

understanding, 1 15 
Printing, 341 

Procedures, classroom, 85 
Procedures and techniques, 34, 71, 330 

importance, 52, 54 

meaningfulncss, 57 
Proportions of human figure, 231 
Pseudo-naturalistic stage, 214 

chart, 400 

meaning, 245 

motivation, 229 
Puppets in secondary school, 341 

Randall, Arne, 404 

Read, Herbert, 68, 91, 118, 132, 137, 

353, 380, 406 
Reading and art, 50, 147 
Realism, concept, 184 
Reasoning, stage of, 214 
Redefinition, ability, 8 
Reed, Carl, 406 
Rembrandt, 277, 366, 368 
Reorganization, ability, 8 

Repetitions, 13,37,60,62, 110, 131,356 
Representational attempts, first, 115 
Representative symbols, development, 

Riley, Olive, 406 
Rouault, G., 276, 371 
Royer, Katherine M., 344 
Russell, Irene, 22, 50, 51 

Schaefer-Simmern, Henry, 406 
Schema, 138 

deviations, 143 

human, 140 

psychological importance, 146 

space, 141 
Schematic stage, 138 

chart, 398 

meaning, 174 

motivation, 166 

subject matter, 169 
Schoen, M., 372, 380 
Scribbling, 30 

art materials, 104 

art motivation, 101 

beginnings, 94 

color, 101, 111 

controlled, 95 

disordered, 95 

importance, 93 

naming, 99 
Scribbling stage, 93 

chart, 396 

growth characteristics, 112 

meaning, 108 
Sculpturing, 337 
Sculpturing in clay, 227 

See also Clay 
Secondary school 

course of study, 295 

meaning of skills, 330 

See also Adolescence 
Self-adjustment, 26 
Self-confidence, loss, 55 
Self-expression, 25, 28 

beginnings, 93 

pseudo-naturalistic stage and, 236 
Self-identification, 28, 29 

appreciation and, 40 

art medium and, 34 

child with his art experience, 31 

gifted child and, 391 

products and, 53, 57 

social adjustment and, 43 

teaching, 29 
Sensibility, in gifted, 387 



art materials and, 17 

common materials and, 193 

environment and, 17 

problems and, 7 
Shadow and light, 363 
Sibley, Anna Grant, 50, 51 
Sibley, Frank, 377, 380 
Sketching, 332 

Skills, meaning in secondary school, 330 
Sky, in schematic stage, 148 
Smith, Paul, 406 
Social adjustment, 43 
Social growth, 67 

adolescence, 285 

gang age, 209 

schematic stage, 177 

experiences, 85 

gang use, 186 

haptic, visual differences, 267 

meaning, 358 

objective, 358 

preschematic stage, 118, 132 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 221, 233 

representations, 151 

schema, 141 

subjective, 359 

visual, 267 
Space and time representations, 157 
Stage of reasoning, 214 
Stein, Morris, 406 
Stereotyped repetition, 13, 60, 62, 110, 

Stimulation of art: See Motivation 
Stone, use in secondary school, 340 
Subject matter 

adolescent, 291 

artistic expression and, 83 

gang age, 200 

preschematic stage, 125 

pseudo-naturalistic stage, 239 

schematic stage, 169 

secondary school, 295 
Subjective experiences, preference, 217 
Subjective space, 359 
Synthesization, ability, 9 
Synthetic method, 166, 229 

Tactile sensations, 66 

development, 1 1 1 
Taylor, Calvin W., 406 

creative experience and, 78 

flexibility, 81 

identification with child, 81 

responsibility in scribbling stage, 113 
Techniques, 34, 39, 330 
Tempera paint 

preschematic stage, 128 

scribbling stage, 104 
Terrel, Glen, 404 

Time and space representations, 157 
Torrance, E. Paul, 382, 394, 406 
Topics in art: See Subject matter 
Types, visual and haptic, 258 

UNESCO, 404 
Unity in art, 376 

University of the State of New York, 
392, 394 

Van Gogh, Vincent, 263, 280 
Visual mindedness, 221 
Visual space, 267 
Visual stimuli, preference, 217 
Visual type, 258, 260 
Visual use of color, 372 

Walter, W. Grey, 258, 280 

Watercolor characteristics, 35 

Waugaman, Blanche, 22, 51 

Wertheimer, Michael, 404 

White House Conference, Midcentury, 

Wickiser, Ralph L., 406 
Wiggin, R. G., 359, 380 
Wilson, Roger, 404 
Winslow, Leon Loyal, 406 
Wood, use in secondary school, 339 
Workbooks, effect, 22, 23 

X-ray pictures, 159 

Zawacki, Alexander, 229, 251 
Ziegfeld, Ernest, 406 






















(Continued from front flap) 

Recent research findings, providing 
greater insight and understanding of 
the creative process, have been incor- 
porated throughout the text. For the 
art teacher, this book particularly pre- 
sents the psychology background nec- 
essary for a correct art motivation 
suited to the different age levels and 
relates it to practical teaching situa- 

The authors feel that all teachers 
who desire to learn and understand 
the child's needs, thinking, and emo- 
tions should use creative expression as 
one of the richest means for insight 
and as a pow^erful force in the educa- 
tive process. 


The late Viktor Lowenfeld was Pro- 
fessor and Head of the Department of 
Art Education at The Pennsylvania 
State University. W. Lambert Brittain, 
who received his doctorate under Low- 
enfeld, is Associate Professor, Depart- 
ment of Child Development and 
Family Relationships, Cornell Uni- 

Jacl^et design / Andrew P. Zutis 

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